HC Deb 07 November 1888 vol 330 cc568-9
MR. HANBURY (Preston)

said, that as he did not see the Under Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs in his place he would put the Question of which he had given Notice to the First Lord of the Treasury—namely, Whether an official intimation has been conveyed to the Universities' Mission that, in view of active operations to be begun by Her Majesty's Government against the Slave Traders on the Zanzibar Coast, it is desirable that all Europeans should be at once withdrawn from stations on the mainland; and, whether it is intended to undertake such operations upon the mainland of East Africa, or whether it is merely intended to continue or extend the usual operations against the Slave Trade by sea; and, if the latter course is intended, what addition it is proposed to make to the number of vessels of Her Majesty's Fleet now engaged in the suppression of the maritime slave traffic?

THE FIRST LORD (Mr. W. H. SMITH) (Strand, Westminster)

I should have preferred, under the circumstances, that the Under Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs should have answered this Question; but I can assure my hon. Friend that there is no intention on the part of Her Majesty's Government to undertake any operations on land in East Africa, and that the operations which are contemplated only have regard to the suppression of the Slave Trade and the prevention of the introduction of munitions of war into that part of Africa.

DR. CLARK (Caithness)

Does the right hon. Gentleman intend to do anything to support our Consuls on Lake Nyassa, where they are being attacked by the Arab Slave Traders, and to protect the British merchants who have been driven out by these traders?


The hon. Gentleman must be aware that support of the character which he indicates would involve the undertaking of important operations on land in East Africa; and I have already intimated that Her Majesty's Government will not undertake any operations on land in East Africa, as they would involve considerations of a very important and serious nature.


I refer not to the land but to the lake—to the inland seas, through navigable rivers.


Does the hon. Gentleman seriously mean to suggest that operations are possible in that direction without the assistance of an army, which must operate on the land?