HC Deb 17 March 1884 vol 286 cc52-3

asked the Under Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, Whether any reply has been given by Her Majesty's Government to the complaints of the Imperial German Government, that "vessels sailing under the English flag, and regularly accompanied by Government officers," not only carry off South Sea Islanders into slavery under the name of free labour, but that even "the violent proceedings of the labour traffic ships are directed against the property of German traders;" whe- ther the German Imperial Government have, as stated by Baron Plossen— Permanently stationed a ship of the Imperial Navy in South Sea waters during the so-called labour season from May till end of September, with instructions to repel by force attacks upon the life and property of Germans; and, what action Her Majesty's Government intend to take in case the German' Imperial Navy considers it to be necessary to use force against ships engaged' in the so-called labour traffic; under the English flag?


Her Majesty's Government have replied by communicating to the German Government the Report of the Commission recently presented to Parliament. The intention of the German Government, as announced to us is to station a man-of-war in the South Sea waters during the labour season, which does not commence till May. The object, as defined in Baron Plossen's note annexed to the Report, will be to control German labour ships. Her Majesty's Government, having no knowledge of any intention to interfere with ships under the English Flag, do not think it necessary to take any steps.