HC Deb 22 November 1927 vol 210 cc1617-9W
Lieut.-Colonel HENEAGE

asked the First Lord of the Admiralty how the

U.S.A. Tonnage. Proposed British Tonnage. Difference in Tonnage. Approximate difference in first cost.
1. 2. 3. 4. 5.
Battleships 35,000 30,000 5,000 1,000,000
(16 inch gun). (13.5-inch gun).
Cruisers 10,000 7,500 2,500 730,000
(8-inch gun). (6-inch gun).
Destroyer Leaders 2,000 1,750 250 55,000
Destroyers 1,500 1,400 100 22,000
Submarines 1,700 1,600 100 21,000


(a) Battleships.

The United States of America figures are those of the Washington Treaty.

The United States delegation had no proposals on this subject and would not discuss the matter.

(b) Cruisers.

The British proposed the definite limitation of the number of 10,000-ton cruisers and would have confined all other cruisers (with certain existing exceptions) to a 6-inch gun type of 7,500 tons, reduced later to 6,000 tons with a view to keeping down total tonnage. The United States delegation would not agree to this limitation, and desired to reserve the right to have as many ships as they liked of the largest size within an agreed total tonnage for cruisers.

(c) Destroyer Leaders.

The original United States of America proposals give 3,000 tons as a dividing line between the Destroyer Class and the Cruiser Class, but 2,000 tons was given as the United States of America figure for Destroyer Leaders in the discussions.

suggestions put forward by the United States of America delegates at the Conference at Geneva compared with those of Great Britain in lessening expense in regard to battleships, cruisers, destroyers, and submarines?


As no agreement was reached in the matter of total tonnages, and as the British original proposals did not mention either numbers or total tonnage, I am afraid that no figures for total saving can be given.

2. The saving per ship in building expense is estimated in round figures to be as follows:

(d) Submarines.

The British proposed a smaller type also of 600 tons as part of the national allowance, with a limitation on larger vessels, but the United States of America was in favour of only one class. The maximum of 1,800 tons, which figures in the final British proposals, was inserted at the request of the Japanese delegation.

3. It should be borne in mind that these reductions in size would, in addition to first costs, effect a considerable saving in maintenance, and that a further large saving would be obtained by the increase in age-limit for vessels proposed by the British Empire—the proposals of the two Powers being:

British Empire. United States of America.
Battleships 26 years (Washington Treaty 20 years)
8-inch Cruisers 24 years 20 years
Destroyers 20 years 15–17 years
Submarines 15 years 12–13 years

The savings on these counts, added to the saving referred to in paragraph 2, would, it is calculated, have amounted to £50,000,000 for battleships over the period of replacement, and £1,000,000 for each individual cruiser.