HC Deb 19 August 1881 vol 265 cc360-1
MR. WHITLEY (for Viscount SANDON)

asked the Secretary to the Treasury, Whether the attention of the Treasury has been called to the letter addressed by the Board of Trade to the Foreign Office on December 24th 1880, in which it is stated by the Board— That it cannot be concealed that, unless provision other than the Native hospital is made for the treatment of British seamen at Pernambuco, a very serious mortality may result in the event of the place being subject to an outbreak of smallpox or yellow fever; and to the Despatches of Her Majesty's Consul at Pernambuco, which show the terrible dangers to which the lives of British seamen are subjected by the abolition of the British hospital at Pernambuco under the order of the Treasury, which was stated by the Board of Trade, on March 26th 1881, to be a matter of the greatest regret to that Department; and, whether Her Majesty's Government will make some temporary provision for the safety of invalid sailors at Pernambuco, until such a time as a permanent arrangement can be entered into with the Mercantile Marine for this purpose?


The Treasury have been fully informed of the views of the Board of Trade on the subject of hospital arrangements at Pernambuco, and the hon. Member will find the view of the Treasury set forth in the Correspondence which has been presented to Parliament. Since that Correspondence was presented the Treasury has allowed the Consul, in the case of an epidemic appearing, discretionary powers to provide accommodation and medical attendance, and to take measures to prevent the spread of infection. But they retain their opinion that the expenses of maintaining hospitals in foreign ports, and especially where dues for the purpose are levied on foreign shipping, ought not to be borne by the British taxpayer. The arrangement I have described has, therefore, been limited to the 31st of March, 1883, by which time it is to be hoped that arrangements may be made for throwing the burden upon the proper shoulders.