§ MR. PICTON (Leicester)
asked the Under Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, Whether the Sugar Bounties Convention has any binding effect whatever previous to the exchange of ratifications, which is fixed by Article XI. for "the 1st August, 1890, or sooner if possible;" whether there is any probability of the latter alternative (of an earlier ratification) being realized; and, whether, meanwhile, each of the Powers represented by the signatories is free, both in honour and in International Law, to withdraw from the Convention?
§ THE UNDER SECRETARY OF STATE (Sir JAMES FERGUSSON) (Manchester, N.E.)
The Sugar Bounties Convention has no binding effect whatever without ratification. As regards the second inquiry, no opinion can at present be expressed. As regards the third, unless special circumstances intervene, contracting States ought to proceed to ratification; but there are many instances in which Treaties have 142 been signed but not ratified. In the present case legislation will be necessary in order to give effect to the Convention; and, therefore, when a measure is submitted to Parliament for that purpose, an opportunity will be afforded for discussion.