HC Deb 23 May 1882 vol 269 cc1400-1

asked the Secretary of State for India, Whether the emigration of Coolies from India to Réunion has been stopped; and, if so, at what date?


Sir, the emigration of Coolies from India has not yet been actually stopped, although such stoppage has for some time past been under consideration, the position of the question being very far from satisfactory. The position, briefly stated, is this. Negotiations have long been in progress for the revision of the Convention, and for the purpose of making proper provision for the protection and well-being of the Coolies. With this object a Commission has met in Paris to arrange a basis of a revised Convention; and last year the French Government prepared a projet de décret, containing a statement of their views and the concessions which, they were willing to make. This, after being reported on by the British Commissioners, was transmitted to the Government of India. As negotiations have thus been actually going on, emigration has been allowed to continue up to the present time. We have only very recently received a despatch from the Government of India, giving in detail their views on the projet de décret. They consider it indispensable that, on certain points, further concessions should be made, and, failing these, that emigration should be stopped. The despatch, I need hardly say, is receiving the most careful consideration.