HC Deb 05 March 1891 vol 351 cc262-3

I beg to ask the Under Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether he is aware that the submarine telegraph communications on the West Coast of South America from Valparaiso running North are in the control of a United States Company domiciled in New York, and the land line (the Trans Andean) from Valparaiso to Buenos Ayres is owned by a Chile Argentine Company, domiciled in Valparaiso; whether the Despatches recently received from the British Admiral commanding the Squadron on the West Coast of South America and from the British Minister in Chile reached London by either of these routes, and whether these Despatches are in cypher or in ordinary language; and if Her Majesty's Government will use their influence with the Government of Chile to permit commercial messages to come freely?


Part of the Northern line is in the hands of an English Company, part of an American, the line to Buenos Ayres in those of a local company. The Despatches received from Her Majesty's Minister could only come by one of these routes; they were in cypher; some from the Naval Commander-in-Chief were sent from ports in Peru. Chile is not a member of the Telegraph Union, and is therefore unrestricted as regards telegraph communications; but even if she were, the Convention provides for the stoppage of private messages in code or cypher when it is considered to be contrary to the interests of the State that they should be sent. In these circumstances, Her Majesty's Government do not feel that they can at present make any representations on the Subject to the Chilian Government.