HC Deb 19 March 1935 vol 299 cc991-2
30. Mr. MANDER

asked the First Lord of the Admiralty, in view of the proposal of the French Government to lay down a capital ship of 35,000 tons during the present year, whether, having regard to the fact that France has already laid down 53,000 tons of capital ship replacement tonnage, it is proposed to make any representations to the French Gov- ernment on this subject as being contrary to the provisions of Part I of the London Treaty, particularly Article I, and of the Washington Treaty, particularly Article III of Chapter 1, and Part III, Sections 1 and 2, of Chapter 2?

The FIRST LORD of the ADMIRALTY (Sir Bolton Eyres Monsell)

The French Government, although they signed the London Naval Treaty, have never ratified it, and the question whether the proposed construction would be contrary to the provisions of that treaty does not therefore arise. Under the terms of the Washington Treaty, France may lay down altogether 175,000 tons of capital ships in replacement. France also expressly reserved the right of employing her capital ship tonnage allotment as she might consider advisable, subject to the limitation that the displacement of individual ships should not surpass 35,000 tons. Under these provisions the French Government, therefore, would be within their rights in laying down a 35,000 ton capital ship this year, and it is not proposed to address any representations to them on this subject, as the desire of this country to obtain by international agreement a substantial reduction in the size of capital ships is well known to them.