§ MR. GOURLEY (Sunderland)
asked the Under Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, If Her Majesty's Government have had their attention directed to the construction of a railway from Delagoa Bay to the hills bounding the Northern Transvaal territory; and, whether, considering the strategical importance of the railway to the Cape Colonies, and the existing ownership of Delagoa Bay, the Government will enter into negotiations with the Portuguese Government for their concession by purchase to Great Britain?
§ DR. CLARK (Caithness)
inquired, whether it was not a fact that the proposed railway would start from a place where a large expenditure would be required for a harbour and end in a mountain, where no one could get at it?
§ THE UNDER SECRETARY OF STATE (Sir JAMES FERGUSSON) (Manchester, N. E.)
The question of acquiring an interest in the railway from Lorenzo Marquez towards Pretoria has not been entertained by Her Majesty's Government, because it does not traverse and it is not intended to enter British territory. It is difficult to conceive on what grounds Her Majesty's Government could acquire possession of a railway in such circumstances. Any British interests concerned must be those of the South African Colonies; and Her Majesty's Government cannot assume their desire for the step which the hon. Member for Sunderland contemplates.