HC Deb 15 April 1913 vol 51 cc1820-1W

asked the First Lord of the Admiralty whether a British warship has been placed at the disposal of the Papal Legate on the occasion of the Eucharistic (Roman Catholic) Congress at Malta, when it is proposed to have public processions through the streets on the evenings of the 26th and 27th instant, with the host; and whether British soldiers and sailors will be required to line the routes and salute the processions as they pass?


Sir, I have previously stated that permission has been given for His Majesty's ship "Hussar" to convey the Papal Legate from Syracuse to Malta. The "Hussar" is the yacht of the Commander-in-Chief in the Mediterranean. The steam packet services between Syracuse and Malta leave much to be desired in the matter of accommodation, and the offer of the yacht is to be regarded as an act of personal courtesy, such as has in the past often been paid to distinguished visitors to the Island, and not as a matter of political significance. In 1905, on the last occasion when a Papal Legate visited Malta, a similar courtesy was afforded him by the then Commander-in-Chief. The Admiralty take full responsibility in both cases for the limited action I have described. The answer to the second part of the question is in the negative. There is no official reception of the Legate. Roman Catholic officers and men serving in the Fleet will, however, be permitted, if they so desire, to attend the religious services in uniform, but in a private capacity.