§ ADMIRAL FIELD (Sussex, Eastbourne)
I beg to ask the Under Secretary of State for the Colonies whether any consideration has been given to the following observations by the Governor of Mauritius, in Colonial Report No. 88, pages 4 and 5, relative to Port Louis as a coaling station:—If in time of war the Suez Canal should be closed, the safety of the long sea route to India will turn not only on the strength of the British Navy, but on the coaling stations at the Cape of Good Hope and Mauritius; I regret to report that nothing practical has been accomplished as regards another element of Imperial defence, that of communication by telegraph between England and Mauritius. I found no difficulty in inducing the Council of Government to vote a subsidy of £10,000 per annum for this object, on condition that the Chancellor of the Exchequer would obtain a similar Vote from the House of Commons, as the total estimated yearly cost was £20,000. I understand the Eastern Telegraph Company are prepared to lay down the line whenever the remaining moiety is provided by the Imperial Government:and whether Her Majesty's Government are prepared to take any action thereon?
§ BARON H. DE WORMS
Parliament having just voted a contribution to the cost of a British Mail Service to Mauritius, which Her Majesty's Government consider more important than the establishment of telegraphic communication, it is not proposed to ask for a subsidy for the latter purpose.