HC Deb 08 June 1939 vol 348 c595
45. Lieut.-Commander Fletcher

asked the Prime Minister whether he will make a statement on the work of the recent Pacific Conference?

The Prime Minister (Mr. Chamberlain)

The report of the New Zealand Conference has been received, and is under consideration by His Majesty's Government. The proceedings were, from the nature of the agenda, confidential, and cannot be published. Moreover, the conclusions of the Conference are in the form of recommendations to the three Governments concerned, and it follows that no statement can be made until the Governments have had time to complete their Study of them. The Conference was very satisfactory, and afforded an opportunity for a frank interchange of views on matters of mutual concern in the Pacific.

Lieut.-Commander Fletcher

May I ask whether any views were expressed by the Australian representative with regard to the fact that the defence of Australia is based upon a fleet of capital ships being at Singapore, and that there is no prospect of such a fleet being stationed there in the immediate future?

The Prime Minister

I could not accept that view, but I cannot at the present time add anything to what I have said.

Lieut.-Commander Fletcher

Is not the right hon. Gentleman aware that that view was the considered opinion of the Defence Minister of Australia?