HC Deb 14 February 1895 vol 30 cc745-6

I beg to ask the Under Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether his attention has been called to the fact that the Bill of Senator Morgan for the construction of a ship canal by the United States Government from the Atlantic to the Pacific Oceans, through the State of Nicaragua, was passed by the Senate of the United States of America on the 25th ult., and that the Bill is now before the House of Representatives; whether he is aware that Senator Morgan, who is Chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee, during his speech in favour of the Bill, stated that no foreign Government had raised any objection to the Bill; whether, inasmuch as the question of the construction of the Nicaragua Canal is one of great importance to British shipowners, owning, as they collectively do, two-thirds of the tonnage of the world, Her Majesty's Government will cause urgent representations to be made to the United States Government against any provisions in Senator Morgan's Bill which are detrimental to the interests of British shipping; and whether Her Majesty's Government will consider the propriety of urging upon the United States Government the importance of the creation of a Joint Commission, British and American, to take up and deal with the construction of the proposed Nicaragua Canal and its status when built?


The answer to the first two paragraphs is in the affirmative. It is not usual to make representations against Bills not promoted by the Government which are under discussion in the Legislature of a foreign country. Her Majesty's Government consider that such a canal as the proposed Nicaragua canal should be under International control, and whatever steps may be desirable will be taken to advance this view, but we have no reason to suppose that the United States Government will not maintain their Treaty engagements.