HC Deb 27 November 1890 vol 349 c128

I beg to ask the Under Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs on what ground the British Fleet was employed to punish the Sultan of Vitu and the natives for the murder of German traders some months ago; and, whether Vitu at the time of the murder was under German protection?


Germany withdrew her protectorate over Vitu in favour of Great Britain on the 1st of July. Since that date it has ceased to be under German protection. The notification placing it under British protectorate was published on the 25th of the present month. At the time of the murder, therefore, the position was transitional, but as Great Britain had accepted in July the transfer of the protectorate it was unquestionably her duty, and not that of Germany, to inflict punishment for murders of white men committed since that date. Papers on the subject are being prepared and will be laid shortly.