§ VISCOUNT SIDMOUTH
asked Her Majesty's Government, Whether it was intended to undertake the construction of a dock for men-of-war of the largest class at Gibraltar, and what progress was being made towards the completion of the docks at Bombay for ships of Her Majesty's Navy? The noble Lord said, that the case of Gibraltar had been under the consideration of successive Governments for many years. And yet it was one of immense importance in view of the possibility of a ship being 1737 damaged in action or by accident. The construction of a dock, he was told, would not be an expensive affair; it could be completed for £150,000; and there were three available sites. No doubt the dock would be used by private ships, of which 20 passed Gibraltar daily; but a dock could not be constructed by private enterprize, because every portion of the rock belonged to the Crown. The noble Marquess at the head of the Government had been giving great attention to the subject of National defence; and as this question had been so long under consideration, it was not unreasonable to expect that a definite answer might be given.
§ THE SECRETARY OF STATE FOR THE COLONIES (Lord KNUTSFORD)
said, that he had been requested to answer the Question relating to Gibraltar on the part of the Admiralty. The importance of the matter was fully recognized, but he regretted that a definite answer could not be given, because the subject was still under the consideration of the Admiralty. Reports were being obtained, but it had not yet been decided that a new dock was to be constructed.
§ THE SECRETARY OF STATE FOR INDIA (Viscount CROSS)
said, with regard to Bombay he was able to assure their Lordships before the House rose for the Summer Recess that he was as anxious as anyone that the docks should be made; but there were then considerable difficulties in the way. He was happy to say they had been, as he believed, removed. It was decided that there should be a conference between the Admiralty and the India Office on the matter. The conference had since taken place, with the result that a modified scheme had been prepared which he expected to receive next week, and which was designed to meet the requirements of both the Admiralty and the Government of India.
§ LORD BRASSEY
said, that he wished to support the noble Viscount in advocating the construction of a dock at Gibraltar. Such a dock would be of great service to the Mercantile Marine and shipping generally, and he had reason to believe that, with the assistance of a subsidy from the Government, which assistance had been given in the case of Vancouver and Hong Kong, a dock might be provided at a small charge to the public.