§ MR. HENNIKER HEATON
I beg to ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether he is aware that the Australian Government have contributed a sum of £32,000 a year for the past 11 years to the Eastern Telegraph Company, for maintaining and cheapening telegraph communication between Australia and Europe; whether the British Government contributed any portion of this subsidy; whether an application was made this year by the Agents General of the New South Wales, the Victorian, and the South Australian Governments, to the British Government, to join in a guarantee against loss, on condition that the Telegraph Companies reduced the rates to and from Australia from 9s. 4d. to 4s. per word for ordinary messages, and from 7s. 5d. to 2s. 6d. per word for Government messages; and what answer, if any, was given to the Australian Governments?
§ THE CHANCELLOR OF THE EXCHEQUER (Mr. GOSCHEN, St. George's, Hanover Square)
Yes, Sir; I think the contribution was the amount mentioned by the hon. Gentleman. I understand that the subsidy in question was granted mainly with a view to the duplication of the cables between Java and Australia. The British Government did not contribute to the subsidy. An application to the effect indicated in the third paragraph of the hon. Member's question was made, but Her Majesty's Government was unable to accede to it.