68. Mr. DOYLE
asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Overseas Trade Department how many representatives of British trading firms have been provided with accommodation on British warships proceeding to foreign ports; how many 886 representatives have already sailed; how many applicants are awaiting berths; if their firms are being charged for such accommodation; what arrangements have been made for their periodic return; and if any objections have been lodged by officers of the Royal Navy against the use of warships for such purpose?
§ Lieut.-Colonel Sir HAMAR GREENWOOD (Additional Parliamentary Secretary Department of Oversea Trade)
Detailed arrangements for providing accommodation on British warships for representatives of British trading firms are still under discussion with the Admiralty, and no accommodation has yet been finally allotted. There are on the lists of my Department 300 applications for assistance in obtaining passages to overseas ports, but it is anticipated that accommodation can be found for a very large proportion of these applicants on ordinary liners. I have not thought it necessary to discuss with the Admiralty the question of obtaining return passages, since there is much less difficulty in obtaining homeward berths and no applications for such passages have been received. As regards charges for accommodation on His Majesty's ships, I would refer him to the answer given by the Parliamentary Secretary to the Admiralty on the 26th November, in which it is stated that a charge will be made of 12s. a day for the first fourteen days, and 9s. a day afterwards. The reply to the last part of the question is in the negative.
§ Sir H. GREENWOOD
Quite the contrary. The First Lord of the Admiralty is doing everything in his power to expedite accommodation on ships that are going abroad and to make arrangements for commercial travellers and business men to go on board.