HC Deb 18 March 1889 vol 334 cc13-4
MR. BRADLAUGH (Northampton)

asked the Under Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether he is aware that the trade of British Indian subjects in Zanzibar has been nearly ruined by the action of the Germans on the mainland, putting a stop alike to the coastwise and the interior trade; that the main result of the bombardment of coast ports by German war ships has been the destruction of the property of Indians; that in one case an Indian merchant and his wife were shot in their house by German sailors; and that within a space of two months upwards of 1,000 Indians left Zanzibar for India, the majority being utterly ruined; and, whether he will take any steps to ascertain the extent of the injury done, and to obtain compensation from the German Government for the losses sustained by British subjects?


It is true that on that part of the coast which is the scene of disturbances British Indians have suffered great losses from the stoppage of trade and destruction of property, though a large number are still residing and carrying on business within the sphere of German influence. I cannot say that the destruction of the property of the Indians has been the main result of the action of German ships, although incidentally they have suffered by the state of war. In September an Indian and his wife were unfortunately killed in the firing which followed on an attack upon the German Company's people by some natives from the interior. Indians have returned home in a destitute condition, but we have no actual account of their numbers. Deeply as the losses of these British subjects is to be regretted, there is no principle of international law on which compensation can be demanded from the German Government.


gave notice that, in consequence of the exceeding gravity of the facts and the answer which had just been given, he would at the earliest opportunity raise the question before the House.

MR. A. M'ARTHUR (Leicester)

asked whether it was true, as stated in the Times of to-day, that Colonel Euan Smith had publicly warned all British subjects to withdraw from Saadani, in consequence of an official announcement by the German Admiral of his intention to punish that place?


It is true that the British subjects have been warned to withdraw from Saadani in consequence of the official announcement of the German Admiral of his intention to punish that place. The Admiral, in the notice he has given, has observed the forms of war, and Her Majesty's Government would not be entitled to object to his proceedings.

MR. J. M. MACLEAN (Oldham)

Have memorials been received at the Foreign Office claiming compensation?


The hon. Member had better give notice of that Question.