§ MR. HOWARD VINCENT
I beg to ask the Postmaster General if it is a fact that the United Kingdom is precluded by some Convention with Foreign States from entering into preferential postal arrangements with the Colonies of the British Empire; and, if so, what is the date of the Foreign Treaty which so limits the power of Her Majesty within Her own dominions; what are the terms of the restrictive clause; and for how much longer will it remain in force?
§ *MR. RAIKES
I may, perhaps, usefully refer my hon. Friend to a reply which I gave in this House to the hon Member for Glasgow on the 11th of March last as bearing upon the present question. 294 In that reply I said there was great reason to doubt if it would be competent to this country to reduce the ocean postal charge to its colonies to 1d. without withdrawing from the Postal Union; but I am not aware of any Convention which generally precludes the United Kingdom from entering into any preferential postal arrangements with the colonies of the British Empire.
§ MR. J. LOWTHER (Kent, Isle of Thanet)
Arising out of the answer, may I ask whether it is competent to enter into preferential arrangements without the consent of the parties to the Convention?
§ *MR. RAIKES
I imagine that certain preferential arrangements would be possible without the consent of the parties to the Convention.
§ MR. J. LOWTHER
Do the Government contemplate taking any immediate steps to obtain freedom from these embarrassing obligations?