§ MR. MILLS (Kent, Sevenoaks)
I beg to ask the Under Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether Her Majesty's Government has received in formation as to a threatened seizure of the Delagoa Bay Railway by the Portuguese Government; whether it is a fact that the railway was built and equipped by British capital, on the faith of a concession from the Portuguese Government; and, whether Her Majesty's Government will take steps, if it has not already done so, to prevent such action by the Portuguese Government, which would be most prejudicial to British capital and British interests?
§ * SIR J. FERGUSSON
This question involves very contentious matter. The Portuguese Government consider that this concession which is for a railway on Portuguese territory, is held by a Portuguese Company, who have not fulfilled its conditions, and that they have the right, consequently, of forfeiting it. It is understood to be the fact that the whole of the capital has been found in England by an English Company formed to work the concessions to the Company which has its seat in Portugal; and, as the Company prefers a strong primâ face case in rejoinder, Her Majesty's Government have used, and are using, their best endeavours to induce the Portuguese Government at least to postpone action which would unquestionably be prejudicial to the interests involved.