HC Deb 24 February 1960 vol 618 cc355-6
20. Mr. Wyatt

asked the Civil Lord of the Admiralty on what grounds the bathyscaphe was declined when offered to his Department by Professor Piccard.

The Civil Lord of the Admiralty (Mr. C. Ian Orr-Ewing)

The Admiralty carefully considered Professor Piccard's offer in 1955 that it should collaborate in and finance the operation of his bathyscaphe in the Bermuda area. It judged that its contribution to world-wide oceanic investigations could be more effectively undertaken through its own survey ships and the National Institute of Oceanography.

Mr. Wyatt

As Professor Piccard offered this instrument to the Admiralty for nothing—all that the Admiralty had to do was to pay the running and the development costs—was not a wonderful opportunity for Britain missed? Is the Minister aware that the Piccard family, which is very pro-British, is still anxious to build a bathyscaphe for Britain? Will he look into this, and see that a second opportunity is not missed?

Mr. Orr-Ewing

We were called on to pay very considerable sums for the fuel which acts as ballast, and for getting to the area. I will certainly look at the hon. Member's second point.

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