I beg to ask the Under Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether his attention has been called to the telegraphed report of Sir John Willoughby to the effect that two steamers, the Agnes and Shark, carrying British mails and a prospecting party led by him, had been fired on by the Portuguese at Biera, on the Pungwé River; that they, and some lighters belonging to them, had been seized, the British colours hauled down, and the Portuguese run up in their place, and that 16 men belonging to their crews had been imprisoned by the Portuguese; and whether the Foreign Office has received any official information on the subject?
§ SIR J. FERGUSSON
The High Commissioner telegraphed home Sir John Willoughby's report, which is the same as that published in the newspapers. We have no further information. Instructions have been given to the Admiralty to send some of Her Majesty's ships to the Pungwé in order to give any protection that may be necessary, and to consult with the Portuguese Authorities on the spot on the measures to be taken for facilitating communication with the interior. Orders have been sent from Lisbon which, as we are informed, will ensure that all opposition to such communications on the part of the Portuguese Authorities shall be entirely 1166 removed. We have also been officially informed from Lisbon that orders have been sent to put an end to the detention of the vessels and crews conveying Sir John Willoughby's party.