§ SIR GEORGE CAMPBELL
I beg to ask the Under Secretary of State for the Colonies if the Naval officers on the coast of Newfoundland were acting under the instructions of Her Majesty's Government; if he can yet say whether it is true that Captain Sir Baldwin Walker, R.N., has taken off the embargo on Mr.Baird's lobster factory, and is to pay damages; if it is true that the statute enabling the Crown to give effect to the Treaty of Versailles on the Newfoundland coast has been repealed; and, if so, when and under what circumstances it has been repealed; and if Her Majesty's Government find themselves unable to enforce the modus vivendi?
§ * THE UNDER SECRETARY OF STATE FOR FOREIGN AFFAIRS (Sir J. FERGUSSON,) Manchester, N.E.
In answer to the first part of the hon. Member's question, I have to state that the Naval officers on the coast of Newfoundland do act under instructions from Her Majesty's Government. In reply to the second part of the question, I have to say that no such information has been received. In answer to the third part of the question, my reply is if the hon. Member refers to Act 28 Geo. III., c. 35, that Act was repealed by the Statute Law Revision Act, 1871. It has long ceased to be operative, for it only purported to give effect to the Treaty of 1783, which was terminated by the subsequent war. French fishing rights are now derived from the Treaty of 1814, which replaced them on the same footing as they stood on in 1792. An Act of 5 Geo. IV., c. 51, was afterwards passed, giving effect to any Treaties respecting Newfoundland which were then in force. This was a temporary Act, but was continued by 2 and 3 William IV., c. 79, until December 3, 1834, when it lapsed. As regards the fourth question, Her Majesty's Government do not find themselves unable to enforce the modus vivendi.
§ SIR G. CAMPBELL
May I further ask whether the right hon. Gentleman understands that the modus vivendi is being enforced at the present moment, and whether all the reports which have appeared in the public prints for some days past, and which are of so much importance that anything of the kind must have been reported to the Government, are unfounded?
§ * SIR J. FERGUSSON
The Secretary of State has not received any information to that effect on the question.
§ * SIR G. CAMPBELL
Does the right hon. Gentleman believe the modus vivendi is at this moment being enforced?
§ * SIR J. FERGUSSON
I have every reason to believe that it is, and I believe it is the subject of judicial trial.
The right hon. Gentleman declined the other day to answer a question as to the legal authority under which the officers were acting, on the ground that legal proceedings were pending against Sir Baldwin Walker. Has he now ascer- 900 tained whether these legal proceedings were concluded?