UNTIL the 1960s, one of the major problems that plagued Hong Kong was that there was only one road - Queen's Road East, now Queensway - between Central and Wan Chai. The problem was that the Royal Navy Dockyard blocked the way and the negotiations to buy the land, which seem to have begun in 1901, were protracted - even by modern standards. They lasted for 58 years. In October 1959, the War Department finally agreed to give up most of the Naval and Army Land south of Queen's Road East, between Murray Road and Police Headquarters at Arsenal Street, and ''eliminated the stranglehold round our waist.'' The Financial Secretary A. G. Clarke said: ''At one stage the differences between us were so wide that negotiations were suspended.'' However a compromise was reached at last. The South China Morning Post of October 8 1959, reported: ''Government has agreed to pay GBP7,000,000 (HK$112 million) for the Royal Naval Dockyard land and the Kowloon Naval Yard. ''It has also negotiated successfully for the site of HMS Tamar, and will credit the War Department with $24 million for this land.'' The Government never actually managed to get its hands on HMS Tamar - it is still trying. The Hong Kong yard was 962,000 square feet and the Kowloon site 680,000 square feet. It was not a bad bargain at $68 per square foot. Ten years later Hongkong Land paid $4,868 per square foot for the site of Jardine House, which was considered a bargainat the time. Mr Clarke said it had still not been decided what Government would do with the land when it took possession. In the end they sold most of it at a vast profit. The area is now called Admiralty after its maritime past, and Harcourt Road is named after Rear Admiral Sir Cecil Harcourt who liberated Hong Kong from the Japanese in 1945.