HC Deb 01 July 1889 vol 337 cc1158-9

I beg to ask the Under Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, whether, notwithstanding the representations of Her Majesty's Government, the Portuguese Government have cancelled the Delagoa Bay Railway concession; and, if so, whether Her Majesty's Government propose to take any immediate and decisive action in order to secure the due protection of British commercial interests in that part of the world.

MR. BRYCE (Aberdeen, S.)

May I ask if the Under Secretary can give the latest information to hand as to what has recently taken place at Delagoa Bay, seeing how much the accounts appearing in the newspapers differ?


It is true that, notwithstanding the representations of Her Majesty's Government, the concession has been cancelled. The Portuguese Government have been told that they will be held responsible for any losses sustained in consequence of this action, by British subjects who invested their money in the railway on the faith of the concession. The legal questions raised by the most recent action of the Portuguese Government are under con- sideration. As to giving the latest information, I may say that the railway has been seized by the Portuguese authorities, and there was considerable alarm and apprehension created amongst the British residents, but her Majesty's Government shave taken the proper steps for the safety of these residents in any eventuality. It is hoped, however, that there will be no such question raised.

MR. ISAACS (Newington, Walworth)

May I ask if the Under Secretary will say whether the Government is acting in concert with the United States Government in the matter?


I think that this is a matter upon which I must ask for specific Notice of any further question.

SIR G. CAMPBELL (Kirkcaldy)

I wish to know if the danger at Delagoa Bay is caused by armed resistance on the part of the British residents and the railway officials to the Portuguese Government; and whether the Government have in consequence sent a vessel of war in order to coerce the Portuguese.


I am not prepared to say to what the alarm is to be attributed.

DR. CLARK (Caithness)

I wish to ask whether any representations have been made to the Portuguese Government by Her Majesty's Government regarding this matter; whether Her Majesty's Government have seen the decree which the King of Portugal has published in the Official Gazette of the Portuguese Kingdom; whether the conditions of that decree were objected to in any shape or form by Her Majesty's Government; and whether the Government have reason to believe that the company having received a concession to construct the railway, and having year after year got extentions of time to carry it out, the Portuguese Government were cancelling the concession because the conditions had not been carried out; that they were instructing their engineer to take possession——


Order, order! A question of this kind, and especially on so important a subject, ought not to be put without Notice.