§ 7.20 p.m.
§ Mr. ISAAC FOOT
I beg to move, to leave out from "That" to the end of the Question, and to add instead thereof:while in the interests of naval efficiency the fuelling of His Majesty's ships should be in accordance with the latest developments of modern engineering science, coal or fuel derived from coal should be used in all cases where it can be shown that, taking all relevant factors into account the efficiency of the Fleet is not thereby reduced.I am afraid that the subject which I have to introduce in moving this Amendment is a rather dull subject compared with the questions of high policy which we have been discussing, but it is a subject which affects vitally the interests of a great number of people in this country, and that is my excuse for putting it before the House. I would like to congratulate the First Lord of the Admiralty on the introduction of his Estimates today. I remember very well that when I first came to this House, about 10 years ago, I used then to address my questions to him as the Financial Secretary to the Admiralty. We are glad that one who has had that earlier experience, and has served honourably in the Navy, has now the great responsibility of upholding the position of the Navy in this House.
I want to call the attention of the House to the very considerable change that has been effected in recent years consequent upon the substitution of coal by oil. I am not going to dwell upon the undoubted advantages that coal enjoys over oil. Undoubtedly oil has a higher calorific value; it has the convenience of low stowage; it increases the radius of action of the ship; it has the advantages of easy control of consumption, economy of staff, and ease of bunkering, especially at sea; and, finally, it has the advantage of cleanliness. I admit all this at the beginning, and I quite recognise that oil has advantages, ire- 100 spective of any question of cost, which have very largely determined the policy of the Navy in recent years. But the effect upon the coal industry has been very marked. I will trouble the House with only a few figures to show what has been the reduction in the quantity of coal used by the Navy between the year 1913 and the present time.
In 1913, the Royal Navy used coal to the extent of 1,810,000 tons. That quantity had fallen by 1920 to just over 842,000 tons. In 1925, the figure had further fallen to 418,000 tons, in 1927 to 346,000 tons, and in 1930 to 244,000 tons; and I gather that during the present year tenders have been invited by the Admiralty from South Wales for 200,000 tons, representing the Admiralty's needs for this year. The fall which has taken place between 1920 and 1934, amounting to 640,000 tons, represents employment for 2,500 men. My Amendment admits at the beginning that the predominent consideration is the efficiency of the Navy—the absolute efficiency of the ship as a fighting unit. To that everyone must make obeisance. I remember that only a year or two ago there came from South Wales some representatives of a movement called the Back-to-Coal Movement, and they submitted their case, in the absence of the Prime Minister, to the Lord President of the Council. I had the opportunity of hearing the case put by that deputation, and the reply was then given that it was impossible to consider reversion to coal in the Navy, but that, short of that being done, the Admiralty would do all in its power to use coal and derivatives of coal where supplies were available and where the circumstances permitted.
I noticed that, in an answer to a question in this House only a few days ago, it was pointed out by the Civil Lord of the Admiralty that over 3,000 tons of fuel oil produced from coal had been used by the Admiralty in the year 1933; and, a day or two after that, the same hon. and gallant Gentleman gave a testimony which will be very welcome to those who are engaged in this industry. He said that the oil was a good bunker fuel, having a calorific value only slightly lower than that of petroleum fuel. That is testimony of very high value, and it will, I hope, have some effect upon the policy which we are now considering. Admitting all the 101 claims for the supremacy of the Navy and the maintenance of its efficiency, I want to make a few suggestions as to what might be done within the limits of the terms of my Amendment. My Amendment is not intended to be admonitory, but suggestive of what can be done.
What can we do as regards the fuller use of home-produced liquid fuel? First of all, a great deal is being done in the way of experiment. I believe that the future of the coal industry is to be found very largely in what is done in the laboratory. I think there never was a more uninspiring slogan than "Back to coal." We live in such a hurrying world that we are not likely to go back to anything, and any industry that wants to hold its own must keep abreast of a hurrying world, and try to meet the demands of our own generation. The chemist, happily, has been at work, and the chemist is a very important factor in the coal industry. It is important that he should have every encouragement. I question if even the Admiralty understands the value that goes with its imprimatur after some discovery has been made or some product has been put on the market, if the chemist in the laboratory, and the industrial concern that is anxious to translate his discovery into a commercial proposition, can know that their activities are being watched with vigilant sympathy, that the fuel produced will be readily tested, and that in the event of a successful test there will be ample contracts for supplies. I believe that in that direction the Admiralty is in a better position than any other authority in this country to give encouragement to that work, upon which the future of the coal industry very largely depends. I said just now that in the year 1933 the Admiralty had used fuel produced from British coal to the extent of just over 3,000 tons. I am told that Low Temperature Carbonisation, Limited, has just installed two plants with a view to doubling its output, and I hope that, as a result of that activity, it may be possible for the Admiralty to increase the demand that existed in 1933.
Then I should like to mention a term which aroused a good deal of interest not long ago—the term "colloidal fuel." Some of my hon. Friends will remember that the famous journey which was made, during the time when I was on the other side of the House, by the Cunard steamship 102 "Scythia" from Liverpool to New York, was watched with intense interest, and the papers had a great deal to say about it. I declined at the time to be lyrical on the subject, but we all expressed hopes as to what might result from that experiment. Hon. Members will know that "colloidal fuel" consists of 60 parts of oil and 40 parts of coal, and, from the combustion engineer's point of view, it is identical with oil. It has all the advantages of liquid fuel, and those who are in the best position to speak on the subject look upon it as a development offering a most promising prospect for the recovery of some of the position that has been lost by coal to oil in recent years. I should like the Civil Lord of the Admiralty later to let us know, if he can, about the Admiralty's observation of that experiment, and whether they would be ready to co-operate, as I have no doubt they would, with the Cunard or any other company concerned, and to take supplies as soon as that experiment has been marked as a pronounced success. The recent discussion on the Hydrogenation Bill was largely confined to the use of coal in producing motor spirit, but I think the Secretary for Mines pointed out that, besides the production of motor spirit by this process, there could also be produced fuel oil. If that is so, it will add to our home-produced supply, and I hope that that matter will also receive the watchful interest of the Admiralty and that steps will be taken in that direction to secure home supplies.
So far I have dealt with home-produced fuel. May I now say a word upon coal itself. I have admitted that, so far as the fighting ships are concerned, coal has had its day, but there are the auxiliary vessels attached to the Fleet where the requirements of steam are not so supreme. There are belonging to the Admiralty tugs and small craft in association with their work, which could very well do with coal, and I am told that in this respect great improvements have been made of late in the use of mechancial and chain grate stokers. Can the Civil Lord tell us anything about pulverised fuel, which has been making some progress of late, particularly in the industrial world. In 1929 we used pulverised fuel to the extent of 2,750,000 tons and in 1932 to the extent of 3,666,000 tons—a very marked progress. That progress, 103 I know, has been made in industrial establishments, and some experiments have been made on board ship. It may be said, of course, that the use of pulverised coal is in its experimental stage as far as marine purposes are concerned, but, if anything can be told us about that, I am sure it will be welcome. I have also learnt that there are some mercantile vessels now equipped to take either coal or oil. They are able to make the change over, and they can make it speedily according to the circumstances of the supplies that may be available at any particular port. That is a recent improvement which may, I think, have some application to His Majesty's ships.
I know I shall be open to the reply that, even so far as these ships are concerned, there will be some loss of efficiency if coal is used instead of oil. But there are other considerations which may outweigh that argument. Have the Admiralty taken into consideration the reduction in the number of tankers which would be needed as escort in time of war, and the saving in the fuel consequent upon the reduction of these escort vessels? Have they taken into consideration the increased life of the reserves of oil at ports abroad by the lessening of the demand upon these auxiliary vessels to the extent that they can use coal instead of oil? Although I gave the figures just now in relation only to the British Navy, everyone knows that the example of the British Navy is very readily followed by the mercantile marine. Any step that is taken by the British Navy has a very swift reflex action and, if anything could be done on the lines that I have suggested, it would have its influence upon the mercantile marine. Of course, that is one respect in which the coal industry has lost very heavily, inasmuch as the mercantile marine to such an extent has turned to oil rather than coal.
I have so far not said a word about a subject which will be in the minds of many, and that is the argument that arises from strategy. Our dependence upon supplies which have to come from abroad must give concern and some apprehension to all who think upon the matter. Speed is important, but speed is not everything. It certainly is not the sole factor when we consider what may be our dependence in time of high danger 104 and crisis for what is the very life blood of the Navy upon sources over which we have no control. When you consider the oil-producing stations in countries which in time of war might be friendly or might not, when you consider the hundreds of miles of pipe line open to vital attack and susceptible of interference at a hundred points, and then the convoy for hundreds or thousands of miles by steam, you see how great may be the danger in the time of utmost need. I have heard speeches to-day and last week upon the danger of being dependent upon other countries. Now that the Navy has turned to oil, that dependence is one of the integral facts of the situation. Whatever can be done to increase home supplies upon which we can depend to mitigate that dependence is a course which, I am sure, the Admiralty will be glad to take and, in taking it, they will have the support of the House and the British people.
May I say a word upon the claims of coal. The British Navy for a great number of years has been dependent upon coal and can never pay its debt to coal. Whatever have been our achievements upon the seas have been made possible by the men who have worked in the mines, and the building up of our Navy, and the building up of our position consequent upon the strength of the Navy, has been due as much to the collier as to the bluejackets, as much to the man who works at the coal face as to the man who serves behind the gun. That industry, to which the country owes so much, has of recent years passed through the most acute distress and, if anything can be done by the Navy, as representing the nation, to help it, it should gladly be done. I remember when I was a boy at school reading of a King who came over from Persia and invaded Greece and was driven back in humiliation. He knew that the predominance of Greece or Persia would be the deciding fact of the next generation or two, and he gave orders that every night, when he was at the banquet, a slave should enter and say in the time of high revel and entertainment, "Sire, remember the Athenian." I think it would be a very good thing if, in the British Cabinet and in the great Departments of State, whenever any arrangements have to be made, or Treaties effected or work given, or contracts placed in these big Departments, and particularly in the Admiralty, which 105 owes so much to this industry, there should be the constant admonition. "Gentlemen, remember coal."
§ 7.40 p.m.
§ Mr. DAVID DAVIES
I should like to follow in the footsteps of the hon. Member who has made such a splendid appeal on behalf of coal, though I do not know whether I can agree with him as to the slogan of "back to coal" as being something outside practical politics. I should like to ask what is the significance of this statement on the back page of the Memorandum:Steady progress has been made at the Admiralty Engineering Laboratory in the development of high-speed compression ignition engines.I should like to know whether that statement involves a process of using coal direct. I believe we are on the eve of an extraordinary revolution and of the possibility of using coal direct from the pit to the engine. It has been the dream of the mechanical engineer for half a century that coal should not go through the process that it has been going through, but should be used straight away in the cylinder. In Germany big-scale experiments have been conducted for the last two and a half years and engines running on the same principle as the Diesel engine have been using pulverised fuel direct to the cylinder. The Germans are using a motor which takes up no more space in a ship than a Diesel engine and has the same propulsive capacity while the cost is enormously decreased.
I am anxious to know whether any effort has been made to adopt the suggestion made by the hon. Member for Bodmin (Mr. Isaac Foot) last year for the use of colloidal fuel. I am faced with an exceedingly difficult problem in my division. We have the slogan, "Back to coal," not only from the people interested in coal, but from people upon whom benefits are conferred resulting from their attachment to the Navy. We have a candidate who has written books and is accepted as an authority on naval arrangements. I think we are entitled, as laymen, to get direct from the First Lord what his real intentions are with regard to coal. It is not enough for me to be told that coal has reached the end of its tether when we have a gentleman of this kind, a retired naval officer enjoying the emoluments that that carries with it, saying that the Navy can go 106 back to coal with as much efficiency and security as when it is dependent on oil.
Although I am only a layman, I believe that science must make progress, and that progress can be made in the Navy quite as efficiently by the use of pulverised fuel and colloidal fuel as with oil. I especially direct the attention of the First Lord to the prospects of exploring the possibilities, consistent with efficiency, of accepting the principle of coal direct to the cylinder, and ask him to make an examination of the experiments and the actual practical working of the Rupa motor in Germany at the moment. I anticipate, judging from that development, that enormous progress will be made in the building of ships which will probably outstrip our mercantile marine in the very near future. I do not think that it is fair that this country, with its tremendous resources of coal supply, and in view of the enormous depression resulting from unemployment in the mining areas, should neglect the possibility of utilising coal in the Navy in that efficient manner. If anything in that direction can be done, it will bring a boon and a blessing to the constituency which I represent.
§ 7.47 p.m.
§ Viscount ELMLEY I have great pleasure in supporting the Amendment moved so admirably and eloquently by my hon. Friend the Member for Bodmin (Mr. Isaac Foot). His speech showed that he made very good use of his time when he was Secretary for Mines. I feel that I should apologise to you, Mr. Speaker, and to the House, being a mere layman, for intervening in this Debate, because as yet no such substance as coal or oil has been discovered below the fields of Norfolk. If such should be the case, I hope the people of Norfolk will get a greater benefit from it than has been the case where these substances have been discovered before. But I am encouraged in what I wish to say when I remember that the late Lord Nelson was a Norfolk man. He was educated at the famous Paston Grammar School situated in the division which I represent—the division of East Norfolk—close to the sea, and I think it is possible that for the first time in his life he saw the sea from that school, and that may have inspired him, or started the flame of inspiration through which he 107 did such very great things for his country later in his life. I am sure that if he were alive to-day he would regard the problem which we are discussing as one of the very greatest importance. I do not think that anybody supports the proposition that the Navy should go back to coal entirely, but there is general support for the proposition that we should at any rate, make a move in that direction. We are the second greatest coal-producing country in the world, the greatest coal-producing country in Europe, and we are more or less entirely dependent upon foreign supplies for our oil to-day. Everybody will agree that, as far as possible, we should not be entirely dependent upon overseas supply for anything, unless circumstances make it absolutely necessary. I understand that the Navy consumes about 1,500,000 tons of coal less than it did in 1913, and that the figure has dropped from 1.8 million tons to 200,000 tons. For all those reasons I believe that we should make a move back towards coal.
§ There are two specific questions which I should like to ask His Majesty's Government and the Admiralty. Seeing that science is playing such a tremendous part in the development of new fuels, I would ask the Government to keep the experiments which are being made very closely under review, and, in particular, I ask the Admiralty to do everything they can towards giving a lead in the "back to coal" movement, not forgetting that we want to get back the very great economic advantage which we had in pre-War days when a large supply of outward coal was obtainable at every big port. In preparing my remarks to-night I had recourse to a most interesting paper which was read by Engineer-Captain Dunlop a few months ago to the Scottish Institute of Engineers, and if any hon. Member is interested in this subject, I recommend him to read this paper, because although it is rather a technical treatise, there is a very great deal of useful knowledge in it.
§ We have four possibilities in front of us at the present time. There is, firstly, that of the use of colloidal fuel which was mentioned by my hon. Friend and which, I understand, can be used in all ships except battle-cruisers and destroyers, where, apparently, the result 108 is that too much soot gets deposited in the various tubes and other parts of the boilers. There are a great many ships which do not go at such tremendous speeds, and I think that colloidal fuel might very well be used in them. Secondly, there is the question of hydrogenation, experiments in regard to which are already in progress. I do not know whether it has been definitely laid down in the Act that heavy fuel oil should be produced, but even if it is not, I hope that it will be possible to persuade the Imperial Chemical Industries to do so, that the Admiralty may test it. Thirdly, there is the possibility of using pulverised coal, and the advantage of that seems to be that here you are using 100 per cent. coal, whereas with colloidal fuel you use only about 50 per cent.
§ Vice-Admiral TAYLOR
When the hon. Member talks of using pulverised coal, does he mean that the ship has to bunker pulverised coal, or has to bunker with the ordinary Welsh steam coal which should be passed through a machine and thus become pulverised?
§ Viscount ELMLEY
I was just coming to that point. The difficulty is that at present the pulverisation has to be done on board, and that means that you have to use space for pulverising machinery which you would be glad to use for other purposes. On the other hand, I understand that recently two Japanese boats have been built, that two cross-Channel ferries are being built for taking a train over between Dover and Dunkirk, and also a Great Western Railway boat for the service between Fishguard and Waterford all with pulverising plants. I am not clear whether these boats will have a pulverising plant on board or not, but if you can pulverise the coal somewhere else and store it on board, there would be a very great deal to be said for using pulverised coal. Lastly, there is the low temperature carbonisation process. Here production is already being carried out which, I understand, has been stimulated by the increased tax which the Chancellor of the Exchequer put upon oil last year. I believe that when the Budget comes out the figures will show that the Chancellor of the Exchequer has succeeded in killing two birds with one stone. He will have encouraged people to use more coal instead of oil, and, in the second place, it will 109 be found that he has encouraged the low temperature carbonisation process.
The great point about the low temperature carbonisation process is that you can carry it out anywhere in this country, and if we had a time of emergency again, the process would be the best we could adopt for getting oil. That aspect of the matter most certainly ought not to be forgotten. I would not presume to say which of those four processes would be the best, but I think that there are distinct possibilities in all of them. It is for our scientists to go into each of them, and into any other scheme that there may be, very carefully, and to make a recommendation to the Government as to which they think is the best. I hope that the Civil Lord will do all he can to help this work along, because I believe it to be very vital and important to this country at the moment, not only from the point of view of helping the coal industry, but of helping the nation.
§ 7.57 p.m.
§ Rear-Admiral Sir MURRAY SUETER
The hon. Gentleman the Member for Bodmin (Mr. Isaac Foot), who moved the Amendment so ably, skated over the advantages of oil fuel for the Navy very briefly. I may tell him that the naval constructor prefers oil to coal because he can design a very much better ship, with a higher speed and longer endurance when oil and not coal is to be the fuel. He can also design a safer ship, because he has not to cut the bulk hatch for bunker doors. The ship is very much safer in action, and also from damage by collision. He can design a much longer boiler when oil is used than he can in a coal-burning ship, and that means the saving of weight, which is everything in design. With oil, you do not need so many smaller units for your furnaces. There is also the purely engineering side. The engineers naturally prefer to use oil. They do not need as large a staff, which is reduced roughly by 50 per cent. Oil is much cleaner, and the staff is not so fatigued as when filling up with coal. Looking at the matter from the supply side of the question, it is much easier to fuel the ship with oil than with coal.
I was the first officer in this country to fuel a submarine from a gunboat. The gasoline was carried in tanks on His Majesty's Ship "Hazard," a gunboat, which we ran alongside. A flexible hose 110 was thrown to us and we connected it up, turned on the cock, started the pump and filled the submarine very easily indeed. I was so impressed with the performance that whether it was a torpedo-boat, gunboat or battleship I have always favoured liquid fuel ever since. It gives a commander-in-chief a tremendous asset, because he can stop a tanker at sea and fuel his ships in moderate weather, in a moderate sea, when it would be impossible for a collier to come alongside. All these advantages are on the side of oil. Although I like to help the Welsh miner as much as I possibly can, the Navy cannot handicap itself for the purpose of helping the Welsh miner. We want speed in the Navy and we cannot afford to give up speed and endurance which our possible enemy may have.
The hon. Member for Bodmin did not seem to attach much importance to speed. I should like to give him an example where liquid fuel has helped speed. There was a Glasgow wine merchant who was very interested in the fact that one customer always ordered a most expensive sherry, which cost 9s. a bottle or so. The wine merchant was curious to know who it was that bought this expensive sherry, and he asked the carrier whether the purchaser was a connoisseur of sherry, "No" replied the carrier "he is not a connoisseur of sherry, but he is a dog racer. He gives a spoonful of the sherry every day to his dog"—he named a very famous racing dog—"and it has never lost a race since." The hon. Member for Bodmin is a great expert on wines, etc., but when he comes to the House and tells a naval man that he does not think much of speed, I say that he is out of his element.
§ Mr. ISAAC FOOT
I started by saying that speed was an element and therefore I recognise that for the fighting ship oil must be used. I think the desire of the hon. and gallant Member was not so much to answer my point as to bring in a good story.
§ Sir M. SUETER
It is within the knowledge of the House that the hon. Member did say that speed was not everything and that the Navy might think about using coal again.
§ Sir M. SUETER
The hon. Member assures me that the hon. Member for 111 Bodmin did say that. I beg the Civil Lord of the Admiralty once and for all to say that the Navy is not going back to coal. It cannot sacrifice its efficiency. All the letters we get about coal for the Navy are from people who do not know a thing about the Service. We cannot sacrifice speed and endurance in naval ships. I do urge the Civil Lord to say that the Navy will not return to coal and that they are not going back on the great policy of the late Lord Bearsted and the late Admiral Sir John Fisher, just to satisfy the Welsh miners. Those two far-seeing men, with great wisdom, introduced oil into the naval service and the Navy has been satisfied ever since.
§ 8.4 p.m.
§ Mr. BATEY
I support the Amendment. When I read the Amendment first it carried my mind back to the title of a book, "Britain for the British." To-night this Amendment is enabling us to start a new slogan, "British coal or British oil for the British Navy." If the hon. and gallant Member objects to coal we reply "Then we are prepared to give you oil; British oil for the British Navy." No Department of the State in using public money is entitled to spend it just as it pleases. It must spend the money if possible for the good of the people in the State. The First Lord of the Admiralty has told us that there is a proposal to build more ships. Neither the First Lord nor the Civil Lord, nor any Member of the Government would suggest building those ships outside this country. The ships that are needed must be built in this country. If any attempt were made to give an order for one of those ships to a foreign country there would be a great outcry. We say that the Navy ought not to use foreign oil but British oil. The British Navy was built up on British coal. In 1913 they consumed nearly 2,000,000 tons, but in 1931 the consumption was less than a quarter of a million tons of coal. That has been a big blow to the coal industry, because the Navy was a large customer.
When we first heard that the Navy had begun to use oil extracted from British coal we were delighted, but our complaint is that they have not made as much progress in that direction as they might. In reply to a question the First Lord told us that in 1930 the Navy used 540 tons of oil extracted from British coal 112 and in 1932, 572 tons, an increase of less than 40 tons in two years. In 1933, however, the consumption of oil from British coal had increased to 3,025 tons. This is an important matter to those of us who represent mining Divisions, and we are glad of the opportunity to-night, on this Amendment, to urge the Admiralty that instead of continuing to use foreign oil they ought to speed up and use British oil. We are in a different position to-day in discussing this matter than we were last year, because during the past 12 months it has been proved that oil can be extracted from coal and that it is a commercial proposition. Therefore we are entitled to say to the Civil Lord: "If it is not possible to use British coal in the Navy, it is possible to use oil extracted from British coal." If the Navy, the Army and the Air Force will face up to this question and use only oil extracted from British coal we shall be satisfied.
This is a golden opportunity for the Government. We are at a disadvantage in the three sets of Estimates of the Defence Services being presented separately. It would be much easier if the Estimates came forward together. However, to-night we can ask the Civil Lord to consult with the authorities of the Army and the Air Force, and we suggest that the three Services ought to have their own independent oil supply. We have heard a great deal about pulverisation, colloidal fuel and low-temperature carbonisation. Only recently it was stated in the House that a hydrogenation plant was about to be erected at an expenditure of £2,500,000, and that it would find employment for 12,000 men, in addition to 1,000 miners. If by spending £2,500,000 on a hydrogenation plant Imperial Chemical Industries can find employment for 12,000 men, then if the three Defence Departments would raise a capital sum of £30,000,000 and spend £1,000,000 a year as interest, that capital sum of £30,000,000, which is twelve times the amount that will be spent by Imperial Chemical Industries, would find employment for 144,000 men.
That would be a good investment for the State. Not only would the three Departments have their own independent oil supply but the saving to the State in another direction would be enormous. 100,000 men now receiving unemployment benefit, each with a wife and one child 113 costs the fund £9,500,000. That would be an enormous saving resulting from the spending of £1,000,000 in interest on a capital of £30,000,000. Therefore I urge the Admiralty to get out of the habit of using foreign oil and to realise their duty to a depressed industry and to a huge mass of people who have little prospect of finding work, and take the necessary steps to get their own oil supply by the installation of the suggested plant. Men do not want the means test but they want work. Here is a way of setting men to work. Once we have started with the new slogan, the three Departments must set about their plans for getting a supply of oil extracted from British coal; otherwise, I am afraid we shall not be able to give them much peace. Let me say a word upon the Estimates.
§ Mr. DEPUTY-SPEAKER (Sir Dennis Herbert)
The hon. Member cannot discuss the Estimates on this Amendment.
§ 8.16 p.m.
§ Mr. CHORLTON
The fuelling of the Navy depends primarily, almost entirely, however much you may wish to steer it one way or another, on the heat content of the fuel that is to be used. Therefore, the direct inference is that in using fuel with a larger heat content you use less of it, which means a smaller ship and that means less power. It is not, therefore, a direct comparison, it is a cumulative comparison, and, as is shown also in the air, the selection of the fuel is something which you cannot merely order according to your wish or in order to spend money in a particular district. You cannot do it; you are absolutely tied. So important is this that at one time or another other fuels have been considered, and it is interesting to see what they are and also to realise why we come back always to oil. Hydrogen has 34,000 heat units. If we could use hydrogen we should not use oil; obviously, we should use a fuel of that content. Acetylene has 21,000 heat units, alcohol 13,000, oil 19,000, and coal from 11,000 to 14,000. 114 It is rather strange, and this may not be known to some hon. Members, that if you were to devise a motor which used an explosive compound, like some form of T.N.T., which is only 6,500 heat units, you would not get the same power out of the engine.
Let me answer some of the questions raised by the hon. Member for Pontypridd (Mr. D. Davies)—it may be presumptuous of me to do so, as it is not my duty, but perhaps hon. Members will allow me to give them my views. The use of coal direct in the engine is really a very important development. It is not by any means as far forward as the hon. Member imagines, but nevertheless, it has gone to a certain extent. There is the Rupa motor, which is the invention of a man called Pawelikovsky, and there is another engine which is running in Brünn, and I think there is a third engine. You may use coal dust, using it as fine as a face powder, fairly successfully in these engines at the present time, and there is every reason to believe that this process will be developed. I for one have been pressing on the Government for two years that we should carry out active experiments in this country, not because we could put these engines into our ships but because it is wrong that we, a coal country, should be behind any others in the use of coal. But we come back to the fact that it is the heat content in oil which you have to consider. If you compare an engine using oil direct in the cylinder as against a secondary engine, that is to say, an engine which burns oil in the boiler, in that case the burning of coal in the engine is rather more economical than the burning of oil under the boiler. I am sorry to be so technical, but I hope it clears up some of the points.
The Navy in the use of fuel have always adhered to steam, and they have made undoubtedly such progress with it that it may be said that our Navy is the leading one in the world in the use of the steam turbine. That is due, of course, primarily to the great invention of the late Sir Charles Parsons, and to the quick way in which the Navy took it up in its early days and developed it. No greater change has taken place in our industrial life or in naval efficiency than the change brought about by the late Sir Charles Parsons, and none of the old chiefs like Watt and Stephenson, in my 115 opinion, made so great a change as Sir Charles Parsons with his turbine engine. Having due regard to the great work done with steam, and appreciating in every way what has been done, I still think that the engine itself, the primary engine, the use of the fuel direct in the cylinder, although developed to a certain extent has not been carried out to anything like the extent it has been carried out abroad. At present the fuel in the Navy is burnt under the boiler, but in the latest German battleship, the "Deutschland," it is burnt in the cylinder. The "Deutschland" is a remarkable ship. It was built probably for two reasons, one, essentially a naval reason; and, secondly, as active propaganda to illustrate technical developments in Germany. I believe she has been very successful in service. Two years ago I saw the engines of the "Deutschland" running on test, but this year, last week, when I went to Germany the door was shut; nothing more can be seen. In other words, they have been successful, and they are not going to let anybody else see what they have done.
§ Rear-Admiral Sir MURRAY SUETER
May I ask whether they have overcome vibration, and also whether they have decreased the weight?
§ Mr. CHORLTON
The vibration is greater than the steam turbine, but it is not objectionable. I learn, unofficially, that the extra weight of the "Deutschland" installation will be cut down by taking away the gearing, which I suppose will be a considerable gain. We have to remember that they are some years ahead of us with these engines and it will be very hard to catch them up. It is no good saying we can do as good as they can. They are there; and we have not anything similar at the moment. The door is shut by order of the German Government. Nevertheless, knowing the personnel of the Admiralty, I believe that we are fully able to develop engines as good if the wherewithal was provided, and there is no reason at all why some experimental work and development should not be carried on both for oil and coal separately, of course, because for coal it will have to be done in smaller engines. In all these matters, whether of coal or oil, it must be clear that we must be dependent upon sources of supply 116 within our own control, and that is where one has great sympathy with oil derived from coal. Of course, to provide it in anything like quantities it is clear that a long time will be taken and that much experience will have to be gained. But at any rate during those years we must have proper and safe provision for our own supply of oil, and I suggest that it is one of the duties of those in authority to see that oil within the Empire is properly safeguarded and that it is developed to the maximum; and then our supplies of coal or oil will be under own own control. The importance of that I do not need to stress.
Finally, I wish to express my own personal appreciation of the excellent engineering staff of the Navy, with whom I am well acquainted. They are in touch with all that is going on, and they are open-minded to all that is going on. I have discussed all these matters with them and I always tell them what I learn. I think that if they were encouraged in the directions that have been indicated they would be only too eager to go ahead. I do not like to think that Germans should lead the world in the production of a ship, the pocket battleship, which had a large element of propaganda about it. The Navy of this country has been in the forefront with the mercantile marine in designing and development and in the sales arising therefrom. That has done more than anything to get our trade back for the production of vessels, and we want to look at matters in the same way with regard to the oil engine. We on this side have rather neglected to strike out in that direction. We must have paid hundreds of thousands of pounds in licence duties to the Continent, and now, when we are looking for employment for our own people, it is the duty of the Admiralty to do the maximum in encouraging the use of fuel directly to the engines themselves.
§ 8.29 p.m.
The CIVIL LORD of the ADMIRALTY (Captain Wallace)
I am sure the whole House will feel a little sympathy for a layman who has to reply to what is in the main an extremely technical Debate, and in particular that I have to follow my hon. Friend the Member for Platting (Mr. Chorlton), who is undoubtedly one of the foremost experts on this particular subject. 117 The hon. Member for Bodmin (Mr. Isaac Foot) has taken advantage of his luck in the ballot to give very eloquent expression to the view that the Navy should, so far as circumstances will allow—that is without any loss of operational efficiency—draw its fuel from indigenous sources rather than depend upon a supply which has to come from overseas. I sincerely appreciated the tone of the hon. Member's speech and his declaration that it was not admonitory but suggestive; everyone is grateful to him for affording us this opportunity of discussing a subject which is of real interest. I hope that as a result of his action it may be possible for me, on behalf of the Board of Admiralty, to dissipate any doubts which exist in any quarter of the House in regard to our readiness, indeed our eagerness, to do precisely what the Amendment asks.
The bare idea that the supply of fuel for the Navy might at any time be liable to interruption is repugnant to everyone, and it is one which might in certain circumstances be very alarming. Perhaps the hon. Member for Bodmin will forgive me if I add that it is peculiarly gratifying that one of the followers of the right hon. Member for Darwen (Sir H. Samuel) is such a very able sponsor of a measure of national economic self-sufficiency. I am sure that nobody in the House, not even the hon. Member for Spennymoor (Mr. Batey) will dispute the view that efficiency must be the paramount consideration. The first question therefore to which I am bound to address myself is whether a return to the use of raw coal in the Royal Navy is possible within the limitations which the Mover of the Amendment has laid down. It has been very eloquently urged to-night that such a course would help the coal mining industry at home. I have heard it urged outside the House that that would reduce our export of capital and thus improve our trade balance; and although the Amendment seems to me specifically to exclude considerations of that kind, it may be as well to deal with them very briefly in this Debate.
So far as the finding of work for miners is concerned, I do not for one moment under-estimate the vital importance of it, but even if the whole of our Fleet were to return to coal burning, it would only amount to an increase of one-third of 1 per cent. in peace time in the annual 118 output of our mines, and if, as it may toe argued, the whole of that supply were drawn from the South Wales coalfield alone, it would only benefit South Wales to the extent of 3 per cent. We do obtain by far the greater part of our fuel oil from the Anglo-Persian Oil Company, a concern which is predominantly British and in which the Government is a large shareholder. We also get oil from Trinidad. I do not think, therefore, that our foreign financial commitments in this direction are very serious.
On the other side of the picture, as has been pointed out for me by my hon. and gallant Friend the Member for Hertford (Sir M. Sueter), the positive technical advantages of liquid fuel are overwhelming. That that is so was admitted by the Mover of the Amendment. If we compare an oil-fired ship with a coal-burner of equal tonnage, we find that the oil-fired vessel has practically double the endurance, requires half the engine-room complement, takes much less time in harbour to replenish with fuel and stores, has greater flexibility of manoeuvre, can maintain full power until the whole of its fuel is exhausted, has the great tactical advantage of making no smoke except when it wants to do so, and finally that by pumping it can transfer its oil supply very easily from one portion of the ship to another, and in that way can correct heel or trim in a damaged vessel, and possibly prevent it sinking.
If the hon. Member will bear with me, I hope to deal with the case of pulverised coal later on. I ought to add that the considered opinion of the Board of Admiralty, with regard to the possibility of going back to coal, ought to carry much greater weight than that of any retired naval officer, however important or distinguished. [An HON. MEMBER: "Even Members of this House!"] Even Members of this House. The hon. Member for Pontypridd (Mr. D. Davies), who made a very interesting speech on this subject during the general Debate on the Estimates last year, asked me a specific question about the Rupa motor and the general principle of using coal fuel direct into the cylinders. The Admiralty are aware of the present state of development and the future 119 possibilities of this motor, and it is interesting to observe this is the precise form of engine which was first worked to by the famous Dr. Diesel. It suffers, by using coal-dust, from somewhat the same defects as those which arise from the use of pulverised coal under boilers, but I can assure the hon. Member that the development of this motor will be closely watched.
There remains one very important question upon which several hon. Members in different parts of the House have directly or indirectly touched. It is a question as to which I believe considerable misapprehension exists, and that is the strategical aspect of the security of our fuel supply. It is perrfectly true that if the main Fleet were operating in the immediate neighbourhood of these islands, coal would have an advantage, but that advantage would completely disappear if the Fleet were engaged elsewhere. Oil fuel of a quality suitable for our battleships is obtainable almost anywhere in the world, but the supply of coal of a quality suitable for use under the boilers of our high-speed vessels is, as the hon. Member for Aberdare (Mr. G. Hall) knows, obtainable practically in South Wales alone. Contrary, therefore, to what appears to be a fairly general impression, our fuel supply is on the whole better assured by the use of oil than by being dependent on Welsh steam coal.
For all these reasons—and they could be considerably elaborated—it is not possible in the view of the Board of Admiralty to controvert the general statement that so long as foreign nations use liquid fuel for their warships the British Navy must do the same. That, I hope, will dispose effectively and once and for all of the contention that we can under modern conditions go back to the burning of raw coal. Among many interesting points made by the Mover of the Amendment he stated that the Navy consisted of a great deal more than battleships, cruisers, destroyers and the like and that we must have a large number of auxiliary vessels in which speed was not the predominant consideration. It is true that in the case of subsidiary vessels of low power and simple construction, such as trawlers and drifters, a lower speed or endurance ratio to displacement can safely be accepted. In those cases it is possible to use coal 120 as fuel although, even here, the question of alternative supplies in distant waters gives us a certain amount of anxiety.
I am glad to be able to tell the horn Gentleman that we do use coal as far as we possibly can for those vessels. There are to-day no fewer than 214 of them using raw coal under their boilers. I want to make it clear, however, that they are auxiliary vessels and could not be expected to accompany the Fleet. I do not think it would be possible to adapt this kind of vessel as the hon. Member for Bodmin suggested so that they would be equipped for burning oil or coal, owing to the difficulty of the bunkering arrangements and the loss of space which we would have to suffer. It remains the fact that wherever we are able to do it, within the terms of the hon. Member's own proviso, we do use British coal.
Another suggestion which, I think, emanated from the same hon. Member was that if the Navy were to return to the use of raw coal the mercantile marine would immediately follow suit.
§ Mr. ISAAC FOOT
Hardly that. I made a number of suggestions, and I said that if those suggestions were adopted they would have a reflex action on the mercantile marine. I never suggested that the Navy should go back to coal.
I beg the hon. Member's pardon. It is, I think, true that there is the closest possible liaison between the Navy and our merchant fleet, and I have no doubt that any lead given from the Admiralty would be followed by the mercantile marine if it suited them to do so. But the House will recognise that the factors which govern the supply of the most suitable fuel are not necessarily common to the Navy and to the mercantile marine, and generally speaking, I think we are bound to assume that shipowners know their own business best and will fuel their ships in the way that best combines efficiency with economy.
If, therefore, the hard facts of the case force us to adopt the view that the burning of raw coal under the boilers of His Majesty's ships of war is out of the question, we have to look to the second alternative put forward by the hon. Member for 121 Bodmin as indicating the beat chance of progress in the direction which everybody in the House desires.
The Mover and the Seconder of the Amendment and the other hon. Members who have contributed interesting and thoughtful speeches to this Debate have between them covered the ground and touched upon all the possibilities which we can see open to us at the present. It is, therefore, only necessary for me to say a few words upon each of the processes mentioned. There is, in the first place, creosote, the product of the high temperature distillation of coal. This is a welcome substitute for petroleum fuel in an emergency and the Admiralty used about 500,000 tons of it during and after the War. The quantity available is bound to be very small because it is dependent upon requirements for gas and coke in this country. Its calorific value is rather lower than that of petroleum oil, and it has one other technical disadvantage. It is necessary to mix it with at least twice its volume of petroleum oil, to avoid a very awkward naphthalene deposit.
Then we come to the low temperature carbonisation process. As has already been pointed out the Admiralty actually asked for 3,025 tons of this fuel from the Low Temperature Carbonisation Company last year and received 2,000 tons of it. They are to-day the only firm who are able to supply it, and it is, as I said in the House a few days ago, only very slightly inferior in calorific value to petroleum oil. I should like to say, with the greatest possible amount of emphasis, that we shall be glad to get as much more of this particular fuel as the Low Temperature Carbonisation Company or any similar concern can sell us at a reasonable price.
If the hon. Member will wait, I will come to that. He was incidentally suggesting that we should start a plant for hydrogenation, which is quite a different process. It must, however, be pointed out that this low temperature carbonisation fuel is merely a by-product from the production of that smokeless semi-coke which you can find in the fires in the Lobbies of this House. This semi-coke amounts to about 70 per cent. of the coal which is 122 carbonised in the low temperature process, and for that reason hon. Members will understand that the possible supply of low temperature fuel oil is also extremely limited. I am advised that it is very improbable that we could get more than 10,000 tons a year of this for Naval purposes at the present time.
So far as hydrogenation is concerned, this process has the initial advantage of giving a very much higher yield of fuel for every ton of coal treated, as it only takes from 2½ to 3 tons of coal to produce a ton of liquid fuel. Against this, it needs a large plant and a highly skilled technical organisation. I agree that this in itself does not matter, but the difficulty is that, having put up the expensive plant and paid the highly skilled technical organisation, it is at present prices a very much sounder proposition to produce petrol and not Naval fuel oil. It is true, as the hon. Member for Spennymoor suggested, that a very slight adaptation of the plant which it is proposed to erect at Billingham would enable it to produce fuel oil instead of petrol, but this would result in a loss in present selling price of something like 80 per cent. There is, therefore, no immediate prospect of a supply of Naval fuel oil from this quarter, although the production of 100,000 tons of petrol, which is the estimated output of the Billingham factory, will be a very valuable factor in time of trouble in easing the tanker situation and leaving more available for the Fleet.
I have every sympathy with the hon. Member for Spennymoor in his £30,000,000 scheme. He said it would put 144,000 more people in work, and I am sure he will rejoice with me that during the last 12 months of the National Government 600,000 more people have got work. I am sure that he will also, with that caution which we Northerners share, agree that it would be just as well to wait until the plant at Billingham is put up and to see how it works and how much its production costs before we embark on any scheme of that kind.
My Noble Friend the Member for East Norfolk (Viscount Elmley) laid particular stress upon the use of colloidal fuel, also mentioned by the hon. Member for Pontypridd, a substance containing 40 per cent. of coal dust and 60 per cent. of oil. This fuel, of course, would have an immense 123 advantage in not being a by-product, and the supply of colloidal fuel for the Navy would not be limited by the factors which at present operate in regard to the other liquid derivatives of coal. Various attempts have been made since 1918 to get a suitable coal oil mixture, but it was not until the recent trials in the "Scythia," under the auspices of the Cunard Company, that a mixture was produced commercially without some sort of fixing agent—"stabiliser," I believe, is the technical name—in order to hold the coal and oil together. All the fixing agents that we know of are soluble in water, and therefore the resultant fuel would be quite inadmissible for use in naval vessels. The Cunard Company have succeeded in doing without a fixing agent, and they used a cracked residue, which was successful in keeping the coal dust in suspension, and while, so far as we can make out, this particular form of fuel would be too viscous for naval purposes, I think that with the more rapid turnover of fuel, the less complicated pipe system and the lower rates of forcing which can be used in the mercantile marine, that this colloidal fuel holds out some promise of commercial development.
There is, finally, pulverised coal. Very little progress has been made with the use of pulverised coal afloat in the last few years, and I believe it is true to say that in the whole of the mercantile marine there are to-day only two ships which are on service thus fitted, but from our point of view the really important point—and that was very kindly pointed out for me by my hon. and gallant Friend the Member for South Paddington (Vice-Admiral Taylor)—is that you cannot store pulverised coal on board a warship in bulk, because if you do, you run a very serious risk of spontaneous combustion. If, on the other hand, you are obliged to store your coal in lumps in bunkers, you will have to carry on board a pulverising plant, which would be extremely heavy and therefore inadmissible, and you would in addition suffer nearly all the disadvantages which have already, I believe, induced the House to reject raw coal as fuel at all.
Before I sit down I must say a word in regard to the speech of my hon. Friend the Member for Platting. I 124 should like, first of all, to acknowledge on behalf of the engineering staff of the Admiralty, and to thank him sincerely for, the tribute which he has paid them, one which I myself very cordially endorse; and I think it might be applied all round to many of the extremely able technical staffs and civil servants who serve us so loyally and unobtrusively and with such remarkable efficiency. The hon. Gentleman suggests that we should go some way towards solving our fuel problem by making a more efficient use of the fuel we have got; in other words, by combusting it in the cylinder instead of burning it under the boiler. I should like to tell him that the development of the oil engine in all its aspects and bearings is being very closely and continually watched at the Admiralty. A large amount of work in research and development is going on at the engineering laboratory, and we have actually to-day reached the position that we have an experimental high-speed Diesel engine of a very novel and advanced type in an advanced stage of development at the Admiralty engineering laboratory. I am not inviting the hon. Gentleman or anybody else to come and see it at present. At the same time we must recognise that, while the Diesel engine has two qualities which give it an advantage over the steam plant, it has several disadvantages. Its really big advantage is the lesser consumption of fuel for a given distance, and its other advantage is reputed to be ease of manoeuvre. Against that, however, it is much heavier. I am sure that, keen exponent of the Diesel engine as the hon. Gentleman is, he will recognise with me that it is not possible to-day to produce any form of Diesel engine either here or in Germany which can equal the geared turbine.
§ Mr. CHORLTON
That is hardly so. It is possible to-day to produce a Diesel engine considerably lighter than our steam plant. The 40 per cent. decrease of consumption must also be taken into account; that is why Germany has adopted oil engines in her latest warships instead of steam.
Does it take into account the whole weight of the installation? My information is that something like 50 to 54 lbs. per shaft horse-power is required for the Diesel engine, and we can do 40 lbs. per shaft horse-power 125 in cruisers and 35 in destroyers. That is, shortly, why we do not use the Diesel engine at present. I should like to say again that every one of these processes, whether they be in the form of new means of utilising coal or any other method, are under constant and careful review by the Admiralty. We work in the closest possible touch with my hon. Friend the Minister of Mines and with the Fuel Research Board. We are willing, and indeed anxious, to give a fair trial to any home-produced fuel of whatever kind, provided it is suitable for our purpose and that the price is not prohibitive. The Board of Admiralty is fully alive to the strategical importance of assuring a home-produced supply of fuel for our Navy as well as to the economic aspect of the situation. It would be very wrong to suggest to the House that this happy state of affairs is at present in sight, but hon. Members may rest assured that no stone will be left unturned to bring it about. I appreciate the point made by the Mover of the Amendment as to the value given by the imprimatur of the Admiralty to any particular form of fuel which we are able to use successfully. The Amendment, therefore, accurately represents Admiralty policy and in ordinary circumstances we should gladly accept it. The hon. Member for Bodmin knows, however, that under the particular procedure of to-night if we are to proceed with the business and to get Mr. Speaker out of the Chair, the Amendment must either be negatived or withdrawn, and I hope that in the circumstances he will see fit to withdraw it.
§ Mr. ISAAC FOOT
I thank the hon. and gallant Member for his speech, and, in view of what he has said, I beg to ask leave to withdraw the Amendment.
§ Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
§ Main Question again proposed.
§ 9.0 p.m.
I should like to congratulate the First Lord of the Admiralty on the very clear statement that he made and for the way in which he expressed his great confidence in his naval advisers, a confidence which I personally and, I believe, the whole House share. That does not mean, however that we agree with all their proposals. What strikes me in the discussions on the Air and Navy Estimates is the fact 126 that while we realise that the security and defence of this country lay in the air and on the sea and on our lines of communication which are by the sea, we have had two separate Debates, one on the Air Estimates and one on the Navy Estimates. In the Debate on the Air Estimates the Secretary of State made nice remarks about the Fleet Air Arm and the co-operation of the Air Force with the Admiralty. The First Lord of the Admiralty to-night made nice remarks about the Air Force and the splendid co-operation between the two services. I do not think that is sufficient. If we are to deal in a proper manner with the defence of this country we must sooner or later have one Ministry of Defence to deal with these matters which are interlocked, as was admitted by the Secretary of State for Air and the First Lord of the Admiralty. Yet we are dealing with them as if they were entirely different subjects, and that is impracticable and inefficient.
I should like to refer to a statement made by the First Lord on the question of battleships. I am glad that he raised this point because within a short time the question of the future of the battleship will have to be decided by this country. The First Lord stated that the present Board of Admiralty was Very much in favour of the capital ship. We ought to make it clear what the capital ship and the battleship are. He said that the present board is in favour of the maintenance of battleship and that he could not possibly find a Board of Admiralty which would be against it. I venture to say that the question whether this country should have battleships or not is one for the Government to decide and not for the Board of Admiralty. It is for the board to carry out the policy of the Government. The argument which the First Lord has brought in favour of the retention of battleships is well known, and, from his own point of view, to some extent unanswerable, but there are many who consider that if this country were to give a more definite lead than it has already given to reducing the size of ships to a limit, say, of 10,000 tons, we could get other nations to agree.
I agree with the First Lord that we must have a thing called, for the sake of argument, a capital ship. Why should it not be of 10,000 tons? As recently as 1900 the biggest ship this country had was 15,000 tons. The First Lord referred 127 to the fact that if we scaled down to 10,000 tons the smaller nations would build up to that. They did not do that in 1900, for while our biggest ship was 15,000 tons, the biggest ships of the smaller nations like Holland, Austria-Hungary and Argentina were of 5,000 or 7,000 tons. I cannot see why we should not scale our tonnage down to the standard we had before we started building Dreadnoughts and super-Dreadnoughts, finishing up with a ship which we know unfortunately was unable to leave harbour for five days. If we built ships of 22,000 tons or some such size, they would be so valuable and so expensive to build, running into £5,000,0000 or £6,000,000, that they could not go to sea unless they were escorted by destroyers and aircraft to protect them against aircraft and submarines and all the other kinds of weapons which science has advanced. It is not a question of simply building battleships. It is a question of building destroyers and escorts to go to sea with them, so that the expense will be something enormous. We must realise what the cost of a future battleship would be plus the escort, and the country must think twice before they embark again on a new programme of building ships over 10,000 tons.
The First Lord said that a battleship could repel a torpedo attack or attack from the air, but it is often overlooked that one torpedo—I admit that it would have to be a lucky one, or perhaps I should say an unlucky one—might very well put the "Nelson" out of action. It might hit her side and do her no damage, but equally it might hit her propellers, so that she would not be able to steam. The Estimates show that we are spending hundreds of thousands of pounds upon refitting and repairing battleships which are out of date. On the "Warspite," which I think went to sea in 1914, we are to spend £500,000 this year, and that at a time when we do not even know whether battleships are going to be abolished or not. During the Debate on the Air Estimates the Lord President of the Council said that a decision on whether we built more aircraft to defend London would have to be delayed for the present, and that view was accepted by the House, and surely if such an important question in connection with the defence 128 of this country has to be deferred while the Government are settling matters, the repair of these old and very nearly obsolete battleships might very well be delayed for a short time.
On the question of construction, a good deal has been said about battleships, cruisers, aircraft carriers, submarines and destroyers, but no mention has been made of sloops. I see that we have built or building 38 sloops. During wartime sloops did very valuable service indeed. They helped to escort convoys through the submarine zones, and so on, but much of the late War was carried on round our own coasts, and that is not likely to be the case in another war, and in any event much of the work done by sloops could now be done by flying boats or aircraft. These sloops are ships which can neither fight nor run away, and I would like to have the opinion from the First Lord on whether it would not be better to build a flotilla of destroyers, which we could do under the Treaty of London, in place of some of these sloops. I realise that a certain number of sloops are required for the purpose of showing the flag in the Persian Gulf and in some of the rivers, and so on, but in peace time there is no work which a sloop can do which cannot be done by a destroyer, whereas in war time there is a lot which can be done by a destroyer which cannot be done by a sloop. We have to remember that in another war a submarine menace may appear in any part of the world, and even one destroyer off the West Coast of Africa, for example, would be far more valuable than a sloop for patrolling our trade routes.
Leaving the question of ships and turning to personnel I was rather surprised to read the following in page 11 of the First Lord's Memorandum:Trials are now"—I emphasise the word "now"—being carried out in a battleship to ascertain the minimum number of lieutenant-commanders and lieutenants adequate to man the ship under peace conditions.Sixteen years after the War we are carrying out an experiment to see how many officers are required to man one of His Majesty's ships. We seem to be rather behind the times. I hope things will be speeded up in other directions. I cannot leave the subject of personnel without referring to Dartmouth College. In presenting last year's Estimates the 129 First Lord of the Admiralty brought forward some suggestion about Dartmouth College being turned into a public school. That is the first and last we heard of it. As frequently happens after a speech has been made, nothing more is heard of the proposal. I would like to know whether anything has been done in the direction indicated. I am one of those who are very much against Dartmouth College. I think it is entirely unnecessary. In these times, when the First Lord tells us he is not asking for a penny more than is required for the efficiency of the Navy, I cannot agree with the expenditure of £85,000 upon Dartmouth College. I cannot see why the Navy, unlike every other profession in the world, has to take in those who are to be officers at the age of 13½ years. I do not believe, from personal experience and the experience of others, that these officers who are taken into the Navy at the age of 13½ turn out to be any more efficient or capable than those who join at the more mature age of 17. It was said at a prize giving the other day that the art of seamanship is not yet dead, and I quite agree. An officer handling a destroyer at high speed, in darkness, in the middle of the night, still needs to know the art of seamanship, but what about the man in the air who crashes through fog at 400 miles an hour? Does he not need to know the art of airmanship? But he does not have to join the Air Force at the age of 13½.
The Dartmouth entry is an enclosed entry. I do not like to use the word "class," in this House or anywhere else, but there is only a certain type of boy who can enter Dartmouth, only a certain type of man who can afford to send his boys there. The parents of a boy who fails to get into Dartmouth College, either through being unable to pass the medical examination or the written examination, are generally able to send him to Eton or Harrow, or some other well known public school, and that being the case I do not see why Dartmouth College should be a burden on the State any more than any other public school. If parents can afford to send their boys to Dartmouth College I do not see why they should not pay the full expenses. From the point of view of expense there is no justification for Dartmouth College, and in the matter of the efficiency and production of young officers there is still less justification.
One hates to criticise the Admiralty, but in looking through the Estimates I 130 could not help noticing that the expenses of the administration of the Admiralty have gone up this year. Seeing that the Navy is now so small compared with what it was in 1914, I have never been able to see, and I still cannot understand, the necessity for the enormous personnel retained at the Admiralty. This year, when we are having, I might almost say, to scrape together enough money to build ships for the security and defence of the country, we are still spending more money on Admiralty headquarters. I congratulate them on one economy. I see that we have reduced the number of store-women by one, and are saving her wages of 25s. a week. It is a step in the right direction, though I think we might do a little more than that. I am talking on a subject which interests me very deeply indeed, and there is much about which I would like to say a great deal, but I will not keep the House any longer seeing how time is getting on. I would, however, ask my right hon. Friend the First Lord of the Admiralty to see that he and his advisers prepare well in advance for the Naval Conference which is to be held. It has been suggested in the House this afternoon that that conference is going to be a failure. That is a most hopeless spirit in which to enter on a conference. I trust that my right hon. Friend, with the very clever advisers whom he has at hand, will be able before the conference starts to prepare some concrete proposals, some reasonable proposals in the way of a limitation of armaments, which will be acceptable not only to us but to every other nation which has a sense of security and justice to sustain, as we have.
§ 9.15 p.m.
§ Mr. RALPH BEAUMONT
I think the people of this country will have no real cause to complain of the increase which the Navy Estimates show for the second year in succession, because this increase cannot be regarded in any way as a change of policy and can only be described as the making up of a little of the leeway which has been lost in recent years. It would be impossible at the present stage to make any very great change in naval policy, because we are still governed by the terms of the Washington and London Naval Agreements. On the other hand, there must be grave doubts as to whether we are in fact building up even to our limits under those treaties, and it seems quite plain 131 that we shall have to face the revision of those treaties with a considerable number of over-age ships, if not as regards cruisers, at any rate as regards destroyers. I do not wish to elaborate this point, because it is continually being put forward and stressed, and it has already been dealt with to-day, particularly by the hon. and gallant Member for North Portsmouth (Sir R. Keyes) in the very valuable contribution which he made to this Debate. I can only add that our apprehensions are certainly not relieved by the determination on the part of Japan and the United States, which has become apparent during the past few months, to build right up to the very maximum allowed by the London Naval Treaty, while we seem content to remain well within those treaty limits.
Nevertheless, it is distinctly pleasing that there is to be a certain making up of leeway, and that 84 ships are to be begun, advanced or completed this year, as compared with 68 a year ago. Not only does the extra amount of money allocated to construction mean a slight speeding up of building, but it will bring an increase of employment to those districts where unemployment is so heavy, and a certain increase in the number of skilled shipwrights. This is an aspect which certainly should not be lost sight of. A skilled shipwright cannot be made in a short time, and if we are to allow our resources in that direction to dwindle, we might find ourselves, should we ever in the future need to build quickly, short of skilled shipwrights who could build those ships.
While the amount of money for construction shows an increase, the amount which has been allocated for this purpose to the Royal dockyards shows a slight reduction. But we who represent dockyard constituencies have no occasion for complaint on that score, because any reduction which has taken place in this form of work is more than counterbalanced by the extra amount which has been allocated for repair work. This has risen very considerably in amount and as the number of dockyard men also shows a rise, I think it can be said that the outlook for the Royal dockyards during the coming year is distinctly brighter. As far as one can see, the dockyards are going to be busier and their work is 132 going to be steadier than it has been for some time past.
While the naval treaties have prevented the building of new capital ships, they certainly have not prevented the expenditure of enormous sums of money upon the reconditioning and modernising of those ships. It can hardly be pretended that the spending in this way of something like half title original cost of these battleships is a very economical form of expenditure, but if money is to be spent in this way it is very gratifying to know that a considerable portion of it is to be spent in the Royal dockyards. Not only are those dockyards more suitable and better equipped for repair work than any private yard, by reason of their great capacity as depots for naval stores of every kind, but probably this form of work provides the steadiest and most general employment. Naturally, we like to see the largest possible amount of work coming to Royal dockyards, whether in construction or in repair work, and in view of the fact that the Admiralty yards are unable to take outside work and have to depend entirely upon the Admiralty for their employment, it is to be hoped that first consideration will always be given to the Royal dockyards. It must be admitted that new construction by itself does not always benefit all the trades in the dockyard at the same time, and several branches, such as engineers, electricians and boiler-makers are apt to find themselves at a temporary disadvantage; whereas work in connection with large repairs and detailed refits provides steady work in all the departments in the dockyards.
There certainly are a number of causes for mild satisfaction in the Navy Estimates for 1934. The rise in the amount of money for construction purposes, the increase in the number of dockyard men and the increase in the personnel of the Navy, after the steady reduction which has gone on for so many years, are very welcome. On the other hand, the reduction in the amount allowed for fuel makes one fear that the activities of the Navy may be even more handicapped and naval exercises further limited. No one can possibly claim that our naval position is entirely satisfactory. Compared with the increase of just under £3,000,000 in our Naval Estimates is the United States' Navy Bill, under which the American 133 Senate have agreed to provide something like 102 new ships at a cost of £125,000,000. While, of course, there is no need for us to view with any alarm the increase in the American Navy, it must be remembered that Japan will in all probability claim equality, and it certainly looks as if we shall have to face the revision of the Naval Treaties, with the alternatives of undertaking expensive building programmes or of accepting a position of definite naval inferiority. In the existing financial conditions, and under our treaty limitations, it is difficult to see how a larger rise in the Navy Estimates could be expected. The rise that we have actually got in construction, together with the very welcome increase in the personnel of the Navy, at least show that the Admiralty are fully alive to the seriousness of the position, and to the insecurity of our naval situation.
§ 9.24 p.m.
§ Major Sir HERBERT CAYZER
First of all, let me congratulate the hon. and gallant Member for North Portsmouth (Sir R. Keyes) on the very interesting speech which he delivered and which I think the House highly appreciated. I am not quite certain whether I understood him in one part, when he talked about the Board of Admiralty in 1930 at a time when the Treaty of London came into being. It occurred to me to be wrong to throw the onus of the London Treaty on to the Board of Admiralty. That surely is a matter of high policy and, whether for good or for bad, the Government alone are responsible for the treaty. But I am quite certain that the Board of Admiralty then would have pointed out to the Government any dangers that lay in the Treaty of London, and would have insisted that we should take full advantage of the Treaty and build up to the tonnage allowance under it. Up to this year—during the last two or three years—speaking on the Naval Estimates has been rather unsatisfactory because, whatever questions one put, whether as regards building more cruisers, battleships or anything else, the answer of the Government was invariably governed by the Treaty of London. To-night, a great many of us want to know whether we are building up to the Treaty.
With regard to the capital ships, I agree with the views expressed by the First Lord, and I think that for many years to come we shall still have to rely 134 upon the capital ships. This year, for the first time, we are, to a certain extent, free of the obligations under the Treaty of London. As regards cruisers, destroyers and submarines, the 91,000 ton restriction has ceased to take effect and, as the First Lord pointed out, obsolete cruisers amount to 86,000 tons. As the 1934 programme this year amounts to 32,000 tons, we have 54,000 tons of cruisers which we could build under the Treaty of London. I do not know whether the First Lord intends to spread that tonnage over 1935 and 1936, but it largely depends on whether we are to go on deferring this year's programme for a year hence before we lay down the ships. I believe that plan was introduced by the right hon. Member for Epping (Mr. Churchill). In any case, as far as I can see, as regards cruisers we are bound to have to rely upon 14 obsolete ships in order to obtain our minimum. Fifty cruisers are a bare minimum to guard the trade routes of this Empire. It has always been considered in the past that we require at least 70 cruisers to perform the duties of battle fleets and to guard trade routes.
As regards destroyers, the First Lord seemed rather to indicate that he was not going to build up to the maximum allowed under the treaty. As regards flotilla leaders and destroyers, we have to-day a great many very old boats. There will be only 65 flotilla leaders and destroyers, amounting to 90,000 tons, within the age limit at the end of 1936. That figure, subtracted from the 150,000 tons that we are allowed under the treaty, leaves us 60,000 tons short. One flotilla leader and eight destroyers—or six destroyers—will not be sufficient to get us anything like up to what we are allowed under the treaty; we must double, or perhaps treble, what we lay down this year. As regards submarines, very much the same thing applies: I make out that at the end of 1939 we shall have 10 obsolete submarines; this year's programme allows for three, and that leaves eight submarines which we can build under the treaty.
I doubt very much whether this country is, even now, up to a one-Power standard. The United States are constructing 17 cruisers of 10,000 tons each—that is 170,000 tons; three aircraft carriers of 53,800 tons; eight flotilla leaders, 24 destroyers, besides submarines. Japan and the United States 135 are building up to the limit of the treaty; we are not quite certain that they have not rather gone beyond it. Great Britain should do so as well. Italy and France are not tied by the treaty, but they are building a great number of fast cruisers, destroyers and submarines. We are, and have been for the last three years, dropping behind both the Oceanic and the European Powers as regards auxiliaries to the battle fleet. We should remember that at a crisis we are not in a position to expand our Fleet rapidly, as we were before the War. Owing to the very small orders placed with private armament firms, the reduction of plant they have had to put into force does not give them the chance of coping with sudden emergencies in a building crisis.
I was glad to see, from the First Lord's speech, that as regards personnel, we have at least stopped reducing. This country has been, year after year, decreasing its personnel. In 1914 we had 146,000; this year, while we have an increase, we have only 92,000. On the other hand, other countries, like America and Japan, have been largely increasing their personnel in the last few years. We have heard a great deal about parity in material, but what we want to do now, and it is very important, is to obtain parity in personnel. To do this we shall have to have a very large increase in personnel. I am glad to see that a larger proportion of short-service men are being entered; this is a good plan, and should be extended. I believe that the Fleets nearer home are manned on a reduced scale of complement. I should like to ask the First Lord whether the ratings are available to complete all the vessels to war complement as well as to man the auxiliary vessels necessary to mobilise the Fleet. It is essential that, with our small Fleet, all ships ready for service should have full active service crews. My colleague spoke just now about the Royal Dockyards. I ask the First Lord to bear in mind that, whereas private dockyards can undertake commercial work, Royal Dockyards such as Portsmouth and Chatham are practically barred from undertaking any such commercial work, and for their existence, and for that of the whole town, they depend upon work given them by the Navy. When he is placing orders, I am certain that he will bear that fact well in mind.
136 The other day Lord Beatty said that the annual value in sea-borne trade amounted to no less than £4,000 millions, and that on any average day at sea there were 2,000 ocean-going merchant ships and 1,000 coasting ships. The cargoes carried by these vessels were, he said, worth £100,000,000. It is the essential duty of the Navy to provide protection for our trade routes and sea-borne trade. For that we are asking the country for £56,500,000 for the Navy, and this is a very small insurance premium to safeguard our trade routes. The very existence of this country depends upon a merchant navy, not only for food supplies but also for every supply required for the life of this country. We have heard a great deal of the necessity of increasing the Air Force. I have every sympathy with that view; we have a great deal of leeway to make up as regards the Air Force, but, as the First Lord pointed out so truly, the Air Force and the Navy are complementary one to the other. All the same, I still maintain that the Navy is our first line of defence, and I am certain that the First Lord will do his utmost to see that we have an efficient Navy, with sufficient stores and equipment, in return for the money which the House votes.
The building of naval ships is desirable from two or three points of view. It is not only desirable from the point of view of the safety of this country, the guarding of our trade routes and the maintenance of our food supplies, but we have also to remember that 85, or perhaps 90 per cent., taking into account all the various things that come in, of the cost of building goes in wages. Surely it is better for us to build what we can up to the full complement of the London Treaty, giving protection to this country and its food supplies, and at the same time saving the payment of more unemployment benefit than is actually necessary. Very few works that could be put into force in this country would yield from 85 to 90 per cent. in wages, and for that reason alone, irrespective of the fact that it is a necessity of our existence, we should go to the fullest extent for a strong naval programme. In the past we have been gambling more than we were justified in doing on disarmament. Other countries are taking no risks, and their needs are nothing like as great as those of this country. It has always appeared to me 137 to be an anomaly that foreign countries, while they were unable to pay the War debts which they owed to this country, could afford to spend millions on their armies, and also on their fleets, which in a great many cases are more or less a luxury. Why cannot Great Britain do this? We are told that it is because we have no money. It is true that we have had a financial crisis, but we have also to remember that we let off our Allies the larger part of the debts which they owed to us. We have been the poorer by that amount, but they have been the richer, and they have put it largely into armaments.
We have also to remember our social services, on which we spend hundreds of millions of pounds. There is no country in the world that can show social services equal to those of this country. Foreign countries prefer to spend less on them, but to protect themselves sufficiently by armed Services. We are apt to forget sometimes that all these wonderful social services would "go west" unless we are prepared to protect them, and the only way in which we can really protect them is by having a strong and efficient Navy. I am convinced that, unless we are prepared to do this, we are asking for the fate which has befallen many other Empires before ours. On the whole, considering the financial position and the difficulties which we know the Admiralty have had to face, the Estimates are satisfactory, because they show a commencement of the rebuilding of the Navy to an adequate strength for the forward foreign policy which our Government are pursuing. Our Fighting Services have been so far reduced that undoubtedly, in the last year or two, our power to make trade agreements and our influence in Europe and America has been greatly diminished. Our prestige depends on our ability to back up our opinions and our policy, and to-day, or at any rate in the last year or two, I question whether we have had that ability. I believe, however, that the prospects are brighter for the future, and that the First Lord is determined that, so far as lies within his power, we shall have a sufficient and efficient Navy adequately to protect this country.
§ 9.41 p.m.
§ Sir PARK GOFF
We have listened to the varying opinions of experts, ex-experts 138 and ex-statesmen this afternoon. I am merely a humble student of the sea and sea power. I am merely an observer and not a pilot. I do not see any reason why the Air Force should get the whole of the lime-light, although I consider that, as has been said already, we should welcome the closest co-operation and co-ordination between the two Services. On last year's Estimates I ventured to draw attention to the difficulty that there was in finding men for foreign service without interfering with and drawing men from the Home Fleet in the middle of a commission. Unfortunately, that difficulty still exists to-day, and for some time the Home Fleet will suffer by periodically losing its men, with the result that it will have to be manned by young and untrained ratings, making it practically a training Fleet. Security of tenure is as essential for the men as it is for the ship or for the Fleet. I also ventured last year to draw the attention of the First Lord to the dangerous shortage of men. Now, I am glad to say, the "St. Vincent" and Shotley are full of seamen boys, and recruiting for the special service ordinary seamen class is in full swing at Chatham, Portsmouth and Devonport; but for some time, I fear, we must suffer from a lack of qualified men, as it takes about three years to make a fully trained naval seaman. This is a legacy which has been left to us by the last Government.
I am also glad to see that two other points which I raised have been very satisfactorily dealt with. The new conditions of advancement and the revised scale of pay for the signal and wireless branches is a very well deserved concession, in my humble opinion, to a most important section of the Service. The other point is that the shortening of the time for which men in the seamen branch now have to wait for advancement, after having qualified for higher rating, will undoubtedly produce very good results. Further, the new scheme of retirement and gratuities in the case of junior officers is a great improvement on all the other schemes. If I may say so as the representative of the senior dockyard, I welcome the First Lord's assurance that the repair work will keep the Royal Dockyards in full employment in the future. Last year mention was made of the "Frobisher." I would welcome another "Frobisher" for boys as well 139 as for cadets, and, if possible, a training ship, so that they might fill in by a three months' cruise the interval between leaving the training establishment and joining the Fleet.
In 1936, and immediately after, we shall have to bring our Battle Fleet up to date. To-day, with the exception of the "Nelson" and "Rodney," all our battleships are old ships. In pre-war days a battleship was out of date in 10 years. To-day all except two are nearly 20 years old, and even if, by prolonging their lives under the London Naval Treaty, they are now brought up to date at very great expense, their serviceable lives are necessarily limited. But the battleship still remains, and must remain, the backbone of the fleet. By all means limit the size and armaments, provided always that there is a clear margin of superiority over any corresponding foreign ships. It is superiority that we must have, and not parity. I regard the battleship replacement programme as the most important naval factor to-day. Supremacy in any other class of ship will never make up for weakness in our capital ships. A new ship once built is far more economical in both fuel and upkeep than an old ship. It is also interesting to note that not one of our battleships was sunk by submarines during the whole War. Nelson said that a line-of-battleship was the best negotiator in the world. If it were known that Parliament would, if necessary, grant supplies for a battleship programme, it would prove an invaluable bargaining weapon at any future naval conference, just as powerful a factor as the tariff weapon is commercially.
We have suffered for 10 years in conferences. It is cruisers that we want, and not conferences. We are woefully short of cruisers, and the shortage is increasing, and not decreasing. A large proportion are worn out, and ought to have been replaced long ago. A squadron of cruisers is far more valuable to the Empire than any number of conferences, and, in the long run, a great deal cheaper. It is no good waiting until we are faced with the actual threat of war. We must either have cruisers adequate to our needs, or be prepared to climb down if any one cares to argue the point with us. A great many people have their wishbone where their backbone ought to be. 140 On the 6th instant, the United States Senate passed a Bill for a naval programme of £150,000,000 covering a period of five years, consisting of six cruisers, 65 destroyers, 30 submarines and one aircraft-carrier. Senator Hales said:It is the duty of Congress to maintain an adequate Navy. If we make any mistake in our Estimates, it is better that the mistake should be one providing too large than too small a Navy.It is maintained that they are only building up to treaty limits by which they cannot increase their armaments or the elevation of their guns. Be that as it may, the moral effect of such a large and rapid expansion is bound to create an adverse atmosphere for the reduction of armaments elsewhere in the world. If it is a matter of necessity and not of prestige to America, we can only assume that the menace is the Pacific, whereas to Great Britain with 80,000 miles of trade routes to protect, it is one of vital necessity. We cannot afford to take risks with our lives, and we cannot afford to gamble with our existence. No country since the world began was ever ruined by expenditure on armaments. It is not armaments. It is the mind behind the armaments that makes for racial antagonism. If we want peace, it is the causes of war and not the instruments of war that must be abolished. Aggression is always founded upon weakness. If one nation knows that she cannot face another's armaments, agreement will very soon be come to. If it is true that armaments are a cause of war, for 60 years, when the British Navy was twice as strong as any two other Powers, we ought to have been continually at war. Little Englanders and scaremongers say we have outlawed war, and, therefore we do not need a Navy and we ought to disarm. We might just as well say that, because we have made burglary illegal, we ought to abolish the police force. After all, the Navy is the police force of the sea. Our Navy does not exist for the protection of this country alone. The Dominions, the Colonies, and the Protectorates are equally dependent on it for their lives and their protection, and they should be encouraged to contribute their fair share.
The Pacific is now the focal point, and it is impossible to exaggerate the enormous importance of the Singapore Base. Singapore is not only the gateway to the Pacific, but it commands the Indian Ocean, round which are three-quarters 141 of the land territory of the Empire, and three-quarters of the population of the Empire live in that territory. The volume of trade through Singapore is just as great as through Suez and Panama, and it is the only port from which a battle fleet could reach Australia and New Zealand, and give them the same assistance in time of crisis as they gave us during the Great War. An area of 3,000 acres was presented by the Government of the Straits Settlements and the cost is shared by New Zealand, Hong Kong and the Federated Malay States. I do not think there has ever been a greater harvest of achievement reaped at the price of so small a draft on the National Exchequer.
It has been frequently said by responsible and reliable people that we have disarmed to the edge of risk. We have disarmed far below the safety margin. We have reached an utterly unsafe limit. I pause to reflect upon the consequences of these statements in some quarters. In my many extensive journeys abroad I have been profoundly impressed by the effect that such statements have made upon certain foreign countries, which are inclined to consider that they can now afford to leave us out of their calculation. We ended the War as the greatest sea Power in the world. Now this one-sided disarmament has reduced us to a position totally unworthy of our great traditions. Dignified isolation is a two-edged weapon. Dignified isolation may be very well but to refuse to follow the example of other nations is to isolate ourselves from safety and common sense. It is not so much armaments qua armaments. It is prestige and dignity, and respect for the flag. Those of us who have travelled over the world know full well the confidence and respect which the White Ensign always inspires wherever it flies, and which always receives a great welcome by all our kith and kin in every part of the globe. That also applies to the Red Ensign and the Blue Ensign.
I would like to see more armed liners than we have at present. How often in far-off corners of the world have threatened risings and insurrections, which might have involved us in serious trouble and even international complications, been avoided by the presence of a cruiser, a gun-boat or a sloop. It did not matter which, for the presence of 142 the ship and of the flag was to them a knowledge of the warning that behind that flag lay the authority and the great naval power of Great Britain. The British Ensign has always been regarded as the emblem and the symbol of freedom, justice and peace. The British Navy does not exist, and it never has existed, to attack, but to protect British lives, British territory and British trade. The British Empire is the British Fleet. If we are to preserve the one, it is essential that we must maintain the other.
§ 9.57 p.m.
§ Sir JOHN PYBUS
I rise to add a few words in support of the case which has been so admirably made out by my hon. and gallant Friend the Member for Battersea North (Commander Marsden). In short, I wish to refer to the status of the engineer officer in the Royal Navy. I feel most strongly that the time is long overdue when the position of this vital profession in the British Navy should be properly recognised, and the way to the highest positions in the Navy should lay open to its members. I feel that by tradition we are still clinging to the theory which was held at the time of the old ships of the line; the time when the ships of the line were equipped with an ancillary engine, much to the mistrust of the then rulers of the Navy. But anybody who has looked over one of our great battleships to-day must realise that it is indeed a complete engineering marvel, and no officer of those great ships is of more importance than the engineer. It is high time that the way should be open for the engineer in the Navy to occupy the highest positions on the Board of Admiralty and as Admiral in charge of dockyards. I have heard it urged that one reason why an engineer should not be put in control of a dockyard was that he might not know how to marshal ships or order the various naval operations connected with them, but for almost 50 years, in fact, navigating officers have been giving orders to engineers without the technical knowledge as to what those orders meant.
I feel that the matter is so important that it should be urged upon the First Lord that he should properly and at once recognise the position of the engineer officer. The modern battleship, as its design changes becomes more and 143 more a matter solely for the engineer and constructor. If we are to secure in the service of the Royal Navy the best engineers available within these islands, we should put before them the possibility of rising to the highest positions in the Navy itself. I hope that after these few words the First Lord, with his broad view of naval matters, will definitely and finally tackle this problem, so that the whole of the engineering profession may realise that the engineer has a free franchise to rise to the highest positions in the Service. The last War, with its operations, naval and military, proved that the engineer is entitled to that status, and I hope that the right hon. Gentleman will mark his regime by a proper recognition—giving high dockyard command, or a position on the Board of Admiralty, for the engineer officer in the Royal Navy.
§ 10.1 p.m.
§ Mr. SIMMONDS
In a club in Piccadilly there rests in lowly state an object of art depicting a nymph of the air kissing and caressing the spirit of the waves, symbolising very beautifully the intimate harmony between sea and air. It is the Schneider Trophy for which the nations contested for some 18 years. Now that this country, through the skill of our engineers and pilots, has won it for all time, it raises some difficulties as to its ultimate possession. I think my right hon. Friend the First Lord has solved the problem for us. The Trophy should go to him, I say that not because the Trophy itself depicts some ladies not too heavily robed and is regarded generally as having distinct educational value, but because he introduced into his speech this afternoon, I was about to say an olive branch, but I might more accurately describe it as an olive tree in full foliage.
I thought that he made a gracious gesture towards the Air Arm, and particularly the Fleet Air Arm of this country. Many hon. Members will recollect that there has not always been, even in recent days, this intimate understanding of the problems of sea and air. As we have had a statement by my right hon. Friend, I would like to say that the arrangement whereon the Fleet Air Arm operates is not by any means perfect. It works primarily because of the good understanding between the naval personnel 144 and the Royal Air Force personnel in the Fleet Air Arm. I also cast my mind back—and I am sure all right hon. and hon. Members will do the same—to those naval officers whose careers during the last 20 years have been wrecked because they had the same faith in the air which my right hon. Friend has expounded this afternoon. I do not know whether admirals purr, but, if they do, I fancy that I heard, during the speech of my right hon. Friend, a purr from the hon. and gallant Member for Hertford (Sir M. Sueter). It will be within general knowledge that he was sacked by the Admiralty because he had too much faith in the air, and possibly it is not the least act of justice on the part of the National Government that in this year's honours His Majesty, for these very services, has dignified our hon. and gallant Friend with the honour of knighthood.
Coming now to these Estimates. Out of a total of £56,000,000 only £1,300,000 is spent on the air arm, or one-fortieth of the total Estimate. As I understand the position, we in Naval armaments are presumed to be on parity ratio with America, but America has over 1,000 Naval planes, unless I seriously misunderstand the true position. Can my right hon. Friend tell us, therefore, if in fact we are on Naval parity with America, why is it that the American Naval staff and our Naval staff take such entirely different views of the appropriate proportions between aircraft and surface vessels in a modern navy?
There is another point that should exercise my right hon. Friend as well as the Air Ministry, and it has been well brought out by the tragedies of the American Army Air Force operating the mails in the last few weeks. This is a question that I should like my right hon. Friend to answer, if he can. Is he satisfied that our training in the Fleet Air Arm is not of such a type as to make fair-weather aviators? Everybody in America thought that the American Army Air Force was as good as any commercial operators, but the fact remains, as the operation of the air mail service by the American Army Air Force has shown, that commercial air lines, operating in all weathers, become much more accustomed to blind flying and to flying in all types of meteorological conditions, which pilots will have to do in times of war. I appreciate that it is difficult for any staff 145 in time of peace to cause unnecessary hazards to their personnel, but it is imperative that our pilots and observers should be competent to carry on even in the worst meteorological conditions.
My right hon. Friend expressed the hope that there would be few who still regarded the Air Arm as a possible replacement for the Navy. Let me assure him on behalf of hon. Members whose air views I know that there is not one who would take so foolish an attitude. Our concept of the Navy and the Air Arm is that they should be complementary of each other. When I use the word "complementary," I mean that the two together should make up the whole. I am sure my right hon. Friend would not wish to see the position left as it is, the Navy making up three-quarters of the whole and the Air Force only one-quarter. The hon. and gallant Member for North Portsmouth (Sir E. Keyes), to whose speech we all listened with interest, expressed the hope that if it was necessary, as the Lord President of the Council promised, to raise our Air Force to parity by vastly increasing it, there would be no paring of Navy Estimates for that purpose. If I may say so, without trespassing upon a matter which became somewhat delicate, I understood that in the declaration of the Lord President of the Council last Thursday he indicated quite specifically that we should come up to parity without interfering in any way with parity in any of the other services. I should feel greatly disappointed if the Navy were pared down and our protection on the sea reduced in order that our protection in the air might be more appropriate.
I congratulate my right hon. Friend on the fact that, although there is a danger in coming forward at this time with an increase in Estimates for the Services, he is not lacking courage in this respect, as indicated in connection with his decision on submarines. I was in Paris last week-end and sensed something of the atmosphere in France. I was able to understand a little of the difficulty that we have had in France recently in some of our diplomatic discussions when an eminent Frenchman uttered these words to me: "We cannot understand you. You are trying to persuade us to enfeeble ourselves, and yet you know that you depend upon us for air protection." These words might well give thought to 146 the right hon. Gentlemen and hon. Members. We have the satisfaction of knowing that that position cannot long endure. For the time being we can appropriately salute my right hon. Friend for his courage in coming forward, as he thought necessary, with a not unsubstantial increase in the Estimates. I hope that he will give us some assurance that the parity of the Air Naval Force is not being overlooked.
§ 10.13 p.m.
§ Vice-Admiral TAYLOR
I wish to congratulate the First Lord of the Admiralty on his speech and also on the provision in the Estimates for strengthening and improving the position of the Navy. At the same time I feel very genuine concern at the position in which this country stands to-day due to the weakness of the Navy. I should like to quote to the House part of an article which appeared in the "Times" newspaper some months ago, to the effect that by our history, our Imperial commitments and our geographical position we are forced to play the part of a great Power in world affairs. Whether we like it or not, we cannot shirk our responsibilities in that matter. I am not suggesting for a moment that we wish to shirk that responsibility, but we can only play our part in the world by upholding and maintaining our strength at sea. There is no other way in which we can fulfill our part. Statesmen in the past fully realised the immense importance of sea power to this country, and our policy was directed all the time to strengthening and consolidating sea power. We built up our great Mercantile Marine and a Navy not only second to none but stronger than that of any other nation. We also acquired those vital connecting links throughout our vast line of communications, strategic bases throughout the world. It was those three factors which were the mainstay of our sea power and the defences of our Empire. It is quite true that our Imperial defence depends upon the closest co-operation between the three fighting services. That is undoubtedly true in the main, but our defence always has depended, and depends to-day, upon the strength and efficiency of His Majesty's Navy. Just in so far as we have been strong at sea have we been of real value as an ally to other nations. Behind our 147 foreign policy has always been the strength of our position at sea, but owing to the decline in our strength at sea and in the air it is extremely doubtful whether to-day we can play our part as a great stabilising power for peace in the world.
We have reduced the Navy on the plea of economy, a very pressing claim, and one which has always come up after every great war. We have reduced the service on that account, but also because we hoped, a vain hope it was, that other nations of the world would follow our example. We have taken a great risk in reducing the Navy. We have sacrificed our security. We are not able to fulfil the obligations we have undertaken under the League of Nations or under the Locarno Pact. For instance, France is always clamouring, and rightly so, for security. The help that we can give to France is the power and might of the Navy, and when that power is reduced just so far as it is reduced is the security we can give to France also reduced. There is to be a conference next year and before we enter that conference it is necessary that the Government should make up their mind as to the policy they intend to pursue. Things have changed in the last two years. Our credit is restored, our financial position is better than it was, the need for economy, although still great, is not as great as it was, the disarmament which we have brought about in our naval forces and in our air forces has not been followed by other nations of the world, while the position of affairs on the Continent must fill us all with grave anxiety. When all these things are considered I think it is necessary that we should reconsider our position with regard to the strength of the Navy and go back again to our old policy of maintaining our sea power.
I should like to refer to the question of our cruiser strength. One of the main functions of the Navy is to maintain the security of our communications. To-day these communications are threatened in the narrow waters and in our ports and harbours by air attack. But that does not in any way lessen the responsibility of the Navy for providing security for 80,000 miles of sea route. A very important committee decided that the minimum 148 number of cruisers which we require for our security is 70. Allusion has already been made to this point. A programme was agreed to which was to be put into operation, and over a period of 10 years there was to be a constructive programme so that at the end of the 10 years we should have in this country 70 effective cruisers. That was the minimum number which was required for our security. In 1930 that number of 70 was reduced to 50. I would very much like to know how the number of 50 was arrived at. If the naval experts informed the Government that 70 was the minimum required, what alteration has taken place which has enabled the Government to reduce the number to 50? Why not 40? Why not 20? Why 50. It is not economy to have a less force than is required for our security. It is a pure waste of public money. It may be a waste to have a greater force than we require, but at any rate with a greater force we get security, whereas with a force which is below our need we not only waste public money but we have no security. It would be very interesting to know whether to-day the First Lord is satisfied that security can be given to our all-important lines of communication with 50 cruisers. I hope we shall have some answer, because the country ought to know where we stand.
Let me take an example. I have a list of the number of British ships of 3,000 tons and over which were at sea on every day of the year on the great trade routes. Is the First Lord satisfied, or does he think, that the Commander-in-Chief in the East Indies, where there are three cruisers, can give reasonable security to the 215 British ships of 3,000 tons and over which are at sea in the Indian Ocean on every single day of the year? At the Cape there are two cruisers and in South America two cruisers. That is four together. Does the First Lord consider that with those four cruisers reasonable security can be given to the 215 ships which are in the South Atlantic on every single day of the year? If we go to the North Atlantic we find there are four cruisers on the North American station, and there are 320 British ships of 3,000 tons and over at sea on every day of the year. Is it possible for the Commanders-in-Chief to give reasonable security to our all-important trade with that number of cruisers at their disposal?
149 But that is not the whole of the story. Under the London Treaty, which has so hampered and restricted the First Lord in providing what is necessary for our defence, we shall have—I may be wrong, but I do not think I am far wrong—14 cruisers which are over age on 31st December, 1936. A part at any rate of those 14 cruisers must be on the trade routes. With a diminished number of cruisers to do this work one would imagine it was essential that every single ship in that force should be as efficient and up-to-date as possible. But we are not going to get that. We are to have only a proportion of the very meagre force of cruisers available because 25 out of the 50 are definitely "frozen in" with the battle fleet and do not leave it. That means that we shall only have 25 cruisers to cover the whole 80,000 miles of trade routes and some of those cruisers are over age, while at least 20 per cent. will be in harbour.
Thus we come down to a position in which not more than 20 cruisers can be at sea at any time and a severe additional strain is going to be placed on those cruisers. As I say, comprised in that number are ships which have lost their speed, the engines and boilers of which are becoming worn out, and these cannot be relied upon but are liable to break down at any time. Imagine the feelings of a commander-in-chief with cruisers of that sort when called upon to protect a valuable convoy. The security which ought to be provided by our ships may be taken away at any time. Not only will the ships themselves have to stand a greater strain than would be entailed if there was a larger number, but there is also a greater strain on the officers and men who may break down, with disastrous results.
When we come to the case of the destroyers we find that we are in even a worse case in that respect, because 50 out of the total of about 116, which we are to have on 31st December, 1936, are over age. It seems to me that the programme of eight destroyers and one leader to be built each year might well be increased to 16 destroyers and two leaders, so that we should have more up-to-date destroyers than those which will be available to us if we continue with a building programme of one and eight. Our cruiser force in which I include destroyers, is in a very serious 150 position and I hope that this fact will be borne in mind at next year's conference. We have agreed to equality in cruisers where no equality properly speaking exists. It is recognised by every nation that we are in a special position, quite different from that of any other nation in that respect. We have far greater responsibilities and other nations are quite ready to accept the fact that we should have a larger cruiser force. Yet we have accepted this doctrine of equality, and up to the present our policy has been not only one of equality but one of reduction from the minimum of 70 laid down by the naval experts in this country, to a figure of 50. I hope that at the coming conference the figure will be made 70 instead of 50.
If we want security, if we want to be the great Power that we ought to be, and the great factor in maintaining the peace of the world that we ought to be, we must once more assert ourselves and bring this country back to the position which we always held in the past, a position of superiority in sea-power. We do not want any race in armaments, but we would do a good service to the cause of peace if we were to give to the world a programme of the ships we require for our security and build those ships. At the present time we are so hampered by the restrictions of the London Treaty that not only are we prohibited from building the number of ships we require, but we are even prohibited from building ships of the size we require. The present position is so unsatisfactory that I hope we shall go to the conference next year with the determination that this country is to have at her disposal such naval forces as she considers necessary for her security.
§ 10.30 p.m.
The FINANCIAL SECRETARY to the ADMIRALTY (Lord Stanley)
I think my right hon. Friend the First Lord of the Admiralty should feel very gratified with the reception that has been given to his Estimates and the compliments that have been paid to his speech. But that reflection has not made my task any easier. While we have had some extremely interesting speeches during this Debate, our Estimates have been so satisfactory and my right hon. Friend's speech has been so convincing that I have very few 151 criticisms to answer. The hon. Member for Aberdare (Mr. G. Hall), on behalf of the Opposition, made an extremely affable and friendly attack, but I was under the impression the whole time that he was using blank ammunition and that his words were never meant to hurt. He dealt mainly with the new construction programme, and he made one very serious mistake when he spoke of the increase in armaments which we were projecting. Surely he ought to have talked of the replacement of armaments which we have carried out on a scale which had already been agreed to by the Labour party when they were in office. I think too he was on extremely weak ground when he was attacking us on our new construction policy. His attack should have been made against the Government of which he was himself a member. It is they who, at the London Conference, laid down the limits to which we could build, and if he, as he threatens, is going to vote against these Estimates, he is really recording a vote of censure against himself as a member of the Board of Admiralty which was responsible for the policy that the present board is carrying out.
He asked me two specific questions. One was, Who are the enemy? That is just the sort of question we expect from one of these bloodthirsty pacifists. They are always asking, Who are the enemy? They are always trying to point out the country against which we are preparing and trying to find somebody whom we are to fight. On the other hand, we who are responsible for the administration of the Admiralty are not looking for potential enemies. We are only seeking to ensure that we shall be able to secure the defence of our country and carry out the responsibilities which are laid upon us. He also asked the reason for the alteration in the programme from four cruisers to three. It is a very simple reason. We have not altered one iota from the view which the Admiralty have always expressed, that we want small cruisers, but we want a great many of them, and that is the view that we have always been trying to impress upon other rival Powers. We hoped that by giving a lead in the direction of small cruisers, we should persuade other countries to follow our example, but unfortunately that hope has not been fulfilled. The 152 two other big naval countries have built several 10,000-ton cruisers, much more heavily armed than our "Leander" class, and we have felt constrained on this occasion to follow their example. That is the reason for the appearance of a new class of cruisers, the "Minotaurs," of 9,000 tons and of an armament comparable to that of the new cruisers of the other Powers.
My hon. and gallant Friend the Member for North Battersea (Commander Marsden) asked how many over-age ships we shall have in various categories at the end of the treaty period. We shall have 14 over-age cruisers and 44 over-age destroyers. Several specific questions were put to me by my right hon. Friend the Member for Sparkbrook (Mr. Amery). He asked if we were prepared to build up to the full limit of our treaty strength. So far as our cruisers are concerned, most certainly so; the new tonnage which we are allowed to build will be built by the end of the treaty period. The First Lord told us exactly how far he was proposing to go with regard to destroyers and submarines. My right hon. Friend further asked whether we were satisfied with the number of cruisers that we are allowed at the present moment, and he asked us to give a definite assurance that at the next conference we shall ask for more, and also get greater freedom in the type of ships which we were to build. I do not think my right hon. Friend could blame me if I said that this question should really be left for the conference to decide. They are the basic questions for discussion at that time, and I do not think this is the moment when one can anticipate the 1935 conference. They will, of course, be given the very fullest consideration.
The hon. Member for Aberdare raised two other points of substance in his speech. He asked why we were spending more money on Singapore. That is a very easy question for me to answer. The Labour party have always been accused of digging a hole just to have the pleasure of filling it up again, but in this case they were doing something even worse. They were, by adopting the truncated scheme, merely digging a hole and leaving it there for no purpose whatever. Under their truncated scheme the dock at Singapore would have been quite useless. All we have done is to add a 153 caisson, a pumping plant and a generating station, thereby assuring that the dock can be of benefit and of utility. I do not think that the strictest economist would object to our spending £8,750,000 on a dock from which we can get some value rather than spend £7,750,000 to get a grave which is useless except as a memorial to Mr. Alexander's term of office.
§ Vice-Admiral TAYLOR
May I ask whether workshops are being put up to carry out the repair of ships that go into the dock?
A certain number are being put up, and also some transit sheds. The main purpose of the increase in this scheme is to enable the dock itself to be used. The hon. Member also raised an interesting point in drawing attention to the increase in Vote A and asking why that was necessary. Unfortunately, it has been necessitated by hard facts, and by the experience which we have gained in the difficulties of drafting during the past year or two. We had a discussion on this subject when the Navy Estimates were presented last year, and I think he may remember that I told the House then that during the previous years we had been on a falling Vote as far as the numbers were concerned, and that therefore there was always a surplus which we could use for drafting purposes. But the moment we got to rock bottom, to the lowest datum line, that surplus disappeared, and we found we had underestimated the number of men that were required for the service of the Fleet. In addition to that, both "Leanders" and "Minotaurs" require more men than the other cruisers, and that also necessitated a small increase. He also asked why the increase of 2,000 in Vote A was not reflected in Vote 1, or only to a limited degree. The answer is that 6,000 men have gone off the top of the list—they are all the more highly paid and senior ratings—and 8,000 men have been entered at the bottom of the list at, of course, the lowest rates of pay, and therefore it is obvious that we shall not get a true relation between Vote A and Vote 1.
I am sure the House will agree that this Debate has been enriched by two maiden speeches of great merit. My right hon. Friend the First Lord had the opportunity of congratulating my hon. and gallant Friend the Member for Portsmouth 154 North (Sir K. Keyes) on his victory and his entry into this House, and I have the pleasure of congratulating him on the result of his first engagement, which we all agree has revealed him as an amphibian of no mean order, equally at home on land and sea. We also all very much enjoyed the extremely thoughtful and interesting speech of my hon. and gallant Friend the new Member for Cambridge (Lieut.-Commander Tufnell). I can assure my hon. and gallant Friend the Member for Portsmouth North that no words spoken during this Debate have given greater pleasure to those of us on this bench than the graceful tribute which he paid to our naval colleagues of the Board and in the Admiralty. I was glad to hear him suggest that we should not take the critics at their own valuation. The critics generally have a very easy time, and if they do not like the answers to their criticisms they never need publish them. I am glad that we are able to tell the House, which I am sure it knows already, that in our naval advisers at the Admiralty we have the pick of the brains of the whole Service, with the additional advantage of being completely up to date.
A good number of speakers, both during this Debate and the Debate on the Air Estimates, have stressed the relationship between the Navy and the Air Force, and I can do nothing but reiterate the assurance given in the speech of the First Lord that there is the closest co-operation between all the Forces. I am grateful, and so I am sure is my right hon. Friend, that my hon. Friend the Member for Duddeston (Mr. Simmonds) has taken the tribute to this co-operation as a tribute to the Air Force and the Fleet Air arm in the spirit in which it was made. In the Navy we are always ready to give to the Air Force all the assistance which they require or for which they ask. We have helped them, I hope to a considerable extent, during the exercises in the past year. We have gone so far as to give special facilities to air-minded Members of Parliament to visit our aircraft carriers.
It is not out of place that many speakers during the Debate have stressed the fact that more publicity, or perhaps undue publicity, may at this moment be given to the dangers of air attack upon London, but the Navy is by no means 155 obsolete, and many of the essential functions which the Navy has carried out during the centuries past must still be carried out by the Navy and by the Navy alone. My hon. Friend the Member for Sparkbrook recalls the fact that during the darkest days of the War we were far more worried by the possibility of starvation than we were by the possibility of increasing damage to London by air bombardment. For a generation at least the Navy and the Navy alone will have to be responsible for the maintenance of the food supply in time of war, for the shipment of an expeditionary force to any part of the globe and the necessary defence of our Empire and our communications.
A certain number of points have been raised during the Debate. I will try and answer as many of them as possible, but, if I do not answer them all, either because I may have missed them or because I may not at the moment know the answer, I am sure that the House will understand. The hon. Member for Broxtowe (Mr. Cocks) was a regular machine gun in his desire for information. The Admiralty would very much welcome a Debate on defence as a whole in addition to the usual Debates on our own Estimates, but that is a question that should be addressed to the Lord President of the Council and not to us. The hon. Member also made the interesting and perhaps rather dangerous suggestion that we should carry out joint naval exercises with France and Italy. Perhaps he did not consider the effect which that might have on those partners who were not lucky enough to be selected. It is more than likely that it would make our position extremely invidious and the unlucky ones extremely jealous. With regard to lower-deck promotion, I can assure him that it is the earnest desire of the Admiralty to make the new scheme a success. As he knows, the failure of the old scheme was due to the fact that the men from the lower deck came in too late. They were older than cadets of the same entry, and that meant that their chance of promotion to the higher ranks was very doubtful. By the new scheme we equalise, or very nearly equalise, the ages of those selected, both of cadets and of those from the lower deck. I hope that the demerits of the old scheme will not be 156 found in this one, and that many of those who have been selected during the past two years or may be selected in future, will have a highly successful career and get to the highest positions in the Navy.
The hon. Member for Broxtowe, as well as my hon. and gallant Friend the Member for Burnley (Vice-Admiral Campbell), raised the question of Dartmouth. This has been discussed in the last two years, and was thoroughly thrashed out last year; I do not think that the hon. Member will expect me to go into details again. I do not wish to draw any comparison between the quality of entry that we get from Dartmouth and the special entry; all I can say is that we are fully satisfied with both. I feel, however, and so does the Board of Admiralty, that Dartmouth is fulfilling an indispensable function at the present moment, and that we are not prepared to make any change in the policy which was announced last year.
My right hon. Friend the Member for South Molton (Mr. Lambert) asked whether we would ask the French why they were building so many submarines. I believe that the question has been hinted to them on several occasions, and I only regret that they were not able to come into the London Naval Treaty, which limits the amount of submarines which any of the signatories may have to 52,000 tons. He also asked about the safety of the naval bases, but, as the Prime Minister said in answer to a question on Tuesday last, the matter has been carefully considered by the Committee of Imperial Defence, and I am sure that he will not expect me to rush in where even the Prime Minister feared to tread. Rosyth is on a care and maintenance basis, and if its use were ever required again we could use it at fairly short notice.
My hon. and gallant Friend the Member for Burnley started off by saying that the First Lord's arguments in favour of battleships were unanswerable, and he then went on to tell us how very undesirable he thought battleships were. If my right hon. Friend's arguments were unanswerable, I can add very little to them. My hon. and gallant Friend was rather optimistic when he thought that other countries would consent to a reduction in the size of a battleship to 10,000 157 tons, when they will not even agree to the reduction of a cruiser to 7,000 tons. He also asked why we were building so many sloops. He must know how useful these sloops are, particularly in Eastern waters. They are maids-of-all-work, and they are also taking to a very large extent and in many directions the place of destroyers, at a greatly reduced cost.
The hon. Member for the Central Division of Portsmouth (Mr. R. Beaumont) drew attention to a reduction in the Vote for fuel in this year's Estimates. I am happy to be able to tell him that the allowance has not been reduced, but that fortunately we can get it at a cheaper rate; this accounts for the reduction in the Vote.
My hon. Friend the Member for Harwich (Sir J. Pybus) and my hon. and gallant Friend the Member for North Battersea raised the question of the status of engineers. My right hon. Friend the First Lord wishes me to say what I am sure that everyone connected with the Navy knows already, namely, that he
§ fully recognises the fine qualities and the invaluable services of the engineering branch of the Navy, and will certainly give most serious consideration to the points that have been raised by my two hon. Friends. I think I have now answered the majority of the questions of substance which have been put during the Debate. I would say that the general tone and trend of the discussion this afternoon and the speeches which have been delivered show a desire to avoid the expression of any warlike tendencies and a hope that the peace of the world will long be maintained, but a determination to ensure the security of our own defences. On these grounds I recommend to the House Estimates which should be a provocation to no foreign country, but which contain a very real instalment of security for our own.
§ Question put, "That Mr. Speaker do now leave the Chair."
§ The House divided: Ayes, 254; Noes, 35.159
|Division No. 154.]||AYES.||[10.57 p.m.|
|Acland-Troyte, Lieut.-Colonel||Cook, Thomas A.||Guinness, Thomas L. E. B.|
|Agnew, Lieut.-Com. P. G.||Courthope, Colonel Sir George L.||Gunston, Captain D. W.|
|Albery, Irving James||Craddock, Sir Reginald Henry||Hacking, Rt. Hon. Douglas H.|
|Amery, Rt. Hon. Leopold C. M. S.||Crooke, J. Smedley||Hamilton, Sir George (Ilford)|
|Anstruther-Gray, W. J.||Crookshank, Col. C. de Windt (Bootle)||Hanbury, Cecil|
|Applin, Lieut.-Col. Reginald V. K.||Cross, R. H.||Hanley, Dennis A.|
|Aske, Sir Robert William||Cruddas, Lieut.-Colonel Bernard||Harvey, George (Lambeth, Kenningt'n)|
|Baldwin, Rt. Hon. Stanley||Davidson, Rt. Hon. J. C. C.||Harvey, Major S. E. (Devon, Totnes)|
|Balfour, George (Hampstead)||Davies, Edward C. (Montgomery)||Haslam, Sir John (Bolton)|
|Balfour, Capt. Harold (I. of Thanet)||Davies, Maj. Geo. F. (Somerset, Yeovil)||Headlam, Lieut.-Col. Cuthbert M.|
|Banks, Sir Reginald Mitchell||Denman, Hon. R D.||Hellgers, Captain F. F. A.|
|Barrie, Sir Charles Coupar||Danville, Alfred||Henderson, Sir Vivian L. (Chelmsferd)|
|Beauchamp, Sir Brograve Campbell||Drewe, Cedric||Heneage, Lieut.-Colonel Arthur P.|
|Beaumont, Hn. R. E. B. (Portsm'th, C.)||Duckworth, George A. V.||Hope, Capt. Hon. A. O. J. (Aston)|
|Bernays, Robert||Duggan, Hubert John||Hopkinson, Austin|
|Boothby, Robert John Graham||Duncan, James A. L. (Kensington, N.)||Hornby, Frank|
|Borodale, Viscount||Eden, Robert Anthony||Horsbrugh, Florence|
|Bossom, A. C.||Edmondson, Major A. J.||Howitt, Dr. Alfred B.|
|Boulton, W. W.||Elliot, Rt. Hon. Walter||Hudson, Capt. A. U. M. (Hackney, N.)|
|Boyce, H. Leslie||Ellis, Sir R. Geoffrey||Hume, Sir George Hopwood|
|Boyd-Carpenter, Sir Archibald||Elliston, Captain George Sampson||Hunter, Dr. Joseph (Dumfries)|
|Bracken, Brendan||Elmley, Viscount||Hunter, Capt. M. J. (Brigg)|
|Braithwaite, J. G. (Hillsborough)||Emrys-Evans, P. V.||Hunter-Weston, Lt. Gen. Sir Aylmer|
|Broadbent, Colonel John||Entwistle, Cyril Fullard||James, Wing-Com. A. W. H.|
|Brocklebank, C. E. R.||Erskine-Boist, Capt. C. C. (Blackpool)||Jesson, Major Thomas E.|
|Brown, Col. D. C. (N'th'l'd., Hexham)||Evans, David Owen (Cardigan)||Joel, Dudley J. Barnato|
|Brown, Ernest (Leith)||Evans, R. T. (Carmarthen)||Johnston, J. W. (Clackmannan)|
|Buchan-Hepburn, P. G. T.||Fleming, Edward Lascelles||Johnstone, Harcourt (S. Shields)|
|Burghley, Lord||Foot, Dingle (Dundee)||Jones, Lewis (Swansea, West)|
|Burgin, Dr. Edward Leslie||Ford, Sir Patrick J.||Kerr, Hamilton W.|
|Cadogan, Hon. Edward||Fox, Sir Gifford||Keyes, Admiral Sir Roger|
|Campbell, Sir Edward Taswell (Brmly)||Fuller, Captain A. G.||Lamb, Sir Joseph Quinton|
|Campbell, Vice-Admiral G. (Burnley)||Gibson, Charles Granville||Lambert, Rt. Hon. George|
|Campbell-Johnston, Malcolm||Gillett, Sir George Masterman||Latham, Sir Herbert Paul|
|Caporn, Arthur Cecil||Gilmour, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir John||Law, Sir Alfred|
|Carver, Major William H.||Glossop, C. W. H.||Leckie, J. A.|
|Castlereagh, Viscount||Gluckstein, Louis Halle||Leech, Dr. J. W.|
|Cayzer, Maj. Sir H. R. (Prtsmth., S.)||Goff, Sir Park||Lees-Jones, John|
|Chapman, Col. R. (Houghton-le-Spring)||Goodman, Colonel Albert W.||Leighton, Major B. E. P.|
|Choriton, Alan Ernest Leofric||Gower, Sir Robert||Levy, Thomas|
|Clayton, Sir Christopher||Greene, William P. C.||Liddall, Walter S.|
|Cochrane, Commander Hon. A. D.||Gretton, Colonel Rt. Hon. John||Lindsay, Kenneth Martin (Kilm'rnock)|
|Colville, Lieut.-Colonel J.||Grimston, R. V.||Lindsay, Noel Ker|
|Conant, R. J. E.||Guest, Capt. Rt. Hon. F. E.||Lloyd, Geoffrey|
|Lockwood, John C. (Hackney, C.)||Pearson, William G.||Soper, Richard|
|Loder, Captain J. de Vere||Peat, Charles U.||Sotheron-Estcourt, Captain T. E.|
|Lovat-Fraser, James Alexander||Penny, Sir George||Southby, Commander Archibald R. J.|
|Lumley, Captain Lawrence R.||Peto, Geoffrey K. (W'verh'pt'n, Bilston)||Spens, William Patrick|
|Lyons, Abraham Montagu||Pickering, Ernest H.||Stanley, Rt. Hon. Lord (Fylde)|
|Mabane, William||Powell, Lieut.-Col. Evelyn G. H.||Stanley, Hon. O. F. G. (Westmorland)|
|MacAndrew, Lieut.-Col. C. G. (Partick)||Pybus, Sir Percy John||Stevenson, James|
|MacAndrew, Capt. J. O. (Ayr)||Raikes, Henry V. A. M.||Stewart, J. H. (Fife, E.)|
|MacDonald, Rt. Hon. J. R. (Seaham)||Ramsay, Capt. A. H. M. (Midlothian)||Stones, James|
|MacDonald, Malcolm (Bassetlaw)||Ramsay, T. B. W. (Western Isles)||Storey, Samuel|
|McEwen, Captain J. H. F.||Rankin, Robert||Stourton, Hon. John J.|
|McKie, John Hamilton||Rea, Walter Russell||Strauss, Edward A.|
|Maclay, Hon. Joseph Paton||Reed, Arthur C. (Exeter)||Sueter, Rear-Admiral Sir Murray F.|
|Macquisten, Frederick Alexander||Reid, David D. (County Down)||Sugden, sir Wilfrid Hart|
|Maitland, Adam||Remer, John R.||Tate, Mavis Constance|
|Makins, Brigadier-General Ernest||Renwick, Major Gustav A.||Taylor, Vice-Admiral E. A. (P'dd'gt'n, S.)|
|Margesson, Capt. Rt. Hon. H. D. R.||Rhys, Hon. Charles Arthur U.||Thomas, James P. L. (Hereford)|
|Marsden, Commander Arthur||Rickards, George William||Thompson, Sir Luke|
|Mason, Col. Glyn K. (Croydon, N.)||Robinson, John Roland||Thomson, Sir Frederick Charles|
|Mayhew, Lieut.-Colonel John||Ropner, Colonel L.||Todd, Lt.-Col. A. J. K. (B'wick-on-T.)|
|Mills, Major J. D. (New Forest)||Ross, Ronald D.||Touche, Gordon Cosmo|
|Milne, Charles||Ross Taylor, Walter (Woodbridge)||Tree, Ronald|
|Mitchell, Harold P. (Br'tf'd & Chisw'k)||Rothschild, James A. de||Tryon, Rt. Hon. George Clement|
|Mitcheson, G. G.||Ruggles-Brise, Colonel E. A.||Tufnell, Lieut.-Commander R. L.|
|Morton, A. Hugh Elsdale||Runge, Norah Cecil||Wallace, Captain D. E. (Hornsey)|
|Monsell, Rt. Hon. Sir B. Eyres||Russell, Albert (Kirkcaldy)||Ward, Lt.-Col. Sir A. L. (Hull)|
|Morris, John Patrick (Salford, N.)||Russell, Hamer Field (Shef'ld, B'tside)||Ward, Irene Mary Bewick (Wallsend)|
|Morris-Jones, Dr. J. H. (Denbigh)||Rutherford, Sir John Hugo (Liverp'l)||Ward, Sarah Adelaide (Cannock)|
|Morrison, William Shepherd||Salmon, Sir Isidore||Warrender, Sir Victor A. G.|
|Muirhead, Lieut.-Colonel A. J.||Salt, Edward W.||Watt, Captain George Steven H.|
|Munro, Patrick||Samuel, Samuel (W'dsworth, Putney)||Wells, Sydney Richard|
|Nall-Cain, Hon. Ronald||Sandeman, Sir A. N. Stewart||Whiteside, Borras Noel H.|
|Nation, Brigadier-General J. J. H.||Sassoon, Rt. Hon. Sir Philip A. G. D.||Williams, Charles (Devon, Torquay)|
|North, Edward T.||Savery, Samuel Servington||Williams, Herbert G. (Croydon, S.)|
|Nunn, William||Selley, Harry R.||Wills, Wilfrid D.|
|O'Connor, Terence James||Shaw, Helen B. (Lanark, Bothwell)||Wilson, G. H. A. (Cambridge U.)|
|O'Donovan, Dr. William James||Shaw, Captain William T. (Forfar)||Windsor-Clive, Lieut.-Colonel George|
|O'Neill, Rt. Hon. Sir Hugh||Simmonds, Oliver Edwin||Worthington, Dr. John V.|
|Ormiston, Thomas||Smiles, Lieut.-Col. Sir Walter D.|
|Ormsby-Gore, Rt. Hon. William G. A.||Smith, Bracewell (Dulwich)||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—|
|Patrick, Colin M.||Somervell, Sir Donald||Captain Sir George Bowyer and|
|Peake, Captain Osbert||Somerville, Annesley A. (Windsor)||Mr. Womersley.|
|Adams, D. M. (Poplar, South)||Griffiths, T. (Monmouth, Pontypool)||Milner, Major James|
|Attlee, Clement Richard||Grundy, Thomas W.||Nathan, Major H. L.|
|Batey, Joseph||Hall, George H. (Merthyr Tydvil)||Paling, Wilfred|
|Bevan, Aneurin (Ebbw Vale)||Jenkins, Sir William||Parkinson, John Allen|
|Buchanan, George||Jones, Morgan (Caerphilly)||Smith, Tom (Normanton)|
|Cocks, Frederick Seymour||Kirkwood, David||Tinker, John Joseph|
|Cove, William G.||Lawson, John James||Williams, David (Swansea, East)|
|Cripps, Sir Stafford||Logan, David Gilbert||Williams, Edward John (Ogmore)|
|Daggar, George||Lunn, William||Wilmot, John|
|Davies, David L. (Pontypridd)||Macdonald, Gordon (Ince)|
|Davies, Rhys John (Westhoughton)||McEntee, Valentine L.||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—|
|Edwards, Charles||Maclean, Neil (Glasgow, Govan)||Mr. John and Mr. Groves.|
|Greenwood, Rt. Hon. Arthur||Maxton, James|
§ Supply accordingly considered in Committee.
§ [Captain BOURNE in the Chair.]