HC Deb 02 June 1938 vol 336 c2269W
Mr. Noel-Baker

asked the Prime Minister whether he will consider arming British merchantmen with anti-aircraft guns to protect them against air attack when they are engaged on lawful errands in Spanish waters?

Mr. Butler:

I do not consider that such a measure would be expedient. Clearly it would be difficult to ensure any protection unless ships fired at any bombing aircraft which came near enough to attack them; and in that case it would inevitably be claimed by the attackers that the ships virtually constituted part of the defences of the port and were a legitimate object of attack.