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Friday, 8 June 1906

Mr DEAKIN (BALLAARAT, VICTORIA) (Minister for External Affairs) - The proposals which Captain Creswell submits will be made after he has gained the experience for which he has been sent to the mother country. His last proposal was for a fleet supplementary to any naval force which the Imperial Government may retain in these seas.

Mr KELLY - I do nob think that the honorable and' learned gentleman quite understood the drift of my question. It is not the function of the Naval Director to say what action the House shall take in certain contingencies. He may wish his fleet to be supplementary to the Imperial Squadron, but this House may feel under no obligation to maintain two fleets in these waters under separate control. I therefore ask whether, if the Prime Minister indorses Captain Creswell's recommendation, he will regard it as supplementary to the Naval Agreement, or in substitution thereof ?

Mr DEAKIN - I might fairly make the customary request not to be asked to answer a hypothetical question; but, so far as I know, any proposal to be submitted immediately must be supplementary to, and cannot be in place of, the Imperial Navy.

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