HC Deb 07 May 1889 vol 335 cc1358-9
DR. CAMERON (Glasgow College)

asked the Under Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, whether it is true that the British Consul at Quillimane was imprisoned by the Portuguese authorities for complicity in importing war rockets for use in the hostilities at present being carried on by British subjects in Nyassaland against Arab slave traders; whether, before these war rockets were sent out any application was made to the Foreign Office to obtain from the Portuguese Government a permit passing them through the Customs at Quillimane; whether the Foreign Office officials had previously obtained permits from the Portuguese Government for the passage of cannon and ammunition for the same destination; whether, in the case of the war rockets, the Foreign Office applied for the permits desired; if not, whether they had any reason to believe that the intention to send out the war rockets was departed from; whether they were aware that the British Consul at Quillimané was agent for the company which was sending out the war rockets; and whether they made any communication to him on the subject?


It is not true that the Consul was imprisoned. Mr. Ross, an unpaid Vice-Consul, in the course of his private business, asked for clearance by the Custom House at Quillimané of some rockets sent out by the African Lakes Company. By direction of the authorities they were lodged in the Government magazine, and some days later Mr. Ross was summoned and then arrested on a charge of introducing dangerous explosives, but he was immediately released on bail. No previous application had been made to the Foreign Office respecting these rockets, and consequently permits for them had not been asked from the Portuguese Government, but permits for some small cannon and ammunition had previously been obtained after some difficulty. It was known that the Vice-Consul was acting as agent for the Company. I should add that due representations are being addressed to the Portuguese Government with reference to this occurrence, and also to the refusal to permit the entrance of materials for the defence of the British settlers on Lake Nyassa.

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