HC Deb 14 October 1942 vol 383 cc1613-4
19. Commander Bower

asked the First Lord of the Admiralty what assistance has been afforded to Mr. George Constantinesco in the development of the water-craft referred to by him in his letter, dated 7th September, 1939, to the Director of Naval Construction?

Mr. George Hall

Mr. Constantinesco has given the Admiralty no technical information about the watercraft referred to. In the absence of such information the Armiralty have been unable to support his request for priorities for the supply of building and other materials, which he states he requires in order to develop his invention. The Admiralty have, however, helped Mr. Constantinesco by arranging for an aircraft engine to be supplied for use in his experiments.

Commander Bower

In view of the fact that three years and more have elapsed since Mr. Constantinesco offered to place the secrets of his invention at the disposal of the Director of Naval Construction, is it not time that something more was done? Could not the First Lord of the Admiralty consult with the Chairman of the Scientific Advisory Committee of the Cabinet in order to find some way of using the services of inventors?

Mr. Hall

It is true that this matter has been under consideration for three years, but not by the Admiralty. The Admiralty have during the whole of this period asked this gentleman to furnish information to them, and he has refused to do so, notwithstanding explicit assurances by the First Lord with regard to secrecy. As a matter of fact, twice during the course of this year my right hon. Friend has assured this gentleman in personal letters that if this gentleman will trust the First Lord he will see that Mr. Constantinesco gets a square deal.

Mr. Austin Hopkinson

In view of the unfortunate history of some of the inventions of this gentleman, will the Admiralty keep a very close eye on the public purse in this matter?

Mr. A. Edwards

Is it not a fact that this gentleman was responsible for one of the most important inventions during the last war, and if he has similar contributions to make how, is it not very serious that all this time should have elapsed?

Mr. Hall

What is expected of this gentleman is that he shall do what everybody else has been asked to do in this matter.

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