5 MAY 1923, Page 1

On Tuesday, in the House of Commons, the Naval Estimates

were discussed in Committee, and the debate turned on the proposal to fortify Singapore Harbour at a cost of /10,000,000. The Labour Party, and the Liberal Members to an only lesser degree, regarded the fortifica- tion of Singapore as unnecessary and provocative. The Secretary of the Admiralty, Mr. Eyres-Monsell, pointed out that there was no intention of fighting any- body. The strategic points of the world had all been changed as the result of the War. In order to keep our trade routes open British ships had to be in the Far East, and there was not at present a single British dock there capable of receiving a capital ship. We might have enlarged the docks at Hong-Kong had not that course been precluded by the Washington Conference. History had proved the folly of sending a Fleet to operate very far from a base. It was therefore a matter of ordinary prudence to provide a base.