HC Deb 19 June 1894 vol 25 cc1472-3
MR. WOOTTON ISAACSON (Tower Hamlets, Stepney)

I beg to ask the Under Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether the Government is aware that an Anglo-German Syndicate is in course of formation to construct a railway from the Swakoh River, a port on the coast of South-West Africa, through German South-West Africa to Mafeking, or some other point on the Bechuanaland Railway; whether his attention has been called to the fact that the Hon. Cecil Rhodes, during the late election campaign in Cape Colony, made a speech in which he asserted that the construction of a railway, either from Walfisch Bay or any point on the coast of German South-West Africa, to Mafeking would not be allowed, on account of the injury which would thereby be done to Cape Town and the Cape railways by the division of trade; whether the proposed railway, so far as it traverses British territory, would be entirely within territories under the jurisdiction of Her Majesty's High Commissioner, and whether the Hon. Cecil Rhodes has any official or other title to interfere in the administration of such territories; and whether Her Majesty's Government would consent to authorise the construction of railroads between points on the coastline of German South-West Africa and points on the Bechuanaland Railway, and its extensions, and their junctions with such lines; and whether they would be prepared to give assurances to the German Government to that effect?


As regards the first question, I understand that such a Syndicate as that indicated in the question is in course of formation. As regards the second question, I am not sure whether I have seen the particular electioneering speech referred to. As regards the third and fourth questions, the country under British influence which would be traversed by the suggested railway is under the direct administration of the High Commissioner; but in this particular matter Mr. Rhodes, on behalf of the British South Africa Company, would have the right to intervene and claim the benefit of Sub-section XV. of paragraph 7 of Lord Ripon's Despatch of the 20th of December, 1892, which the hon. Member will find at page 28 of the Parliamentary Paper [C. 7154.]