HC Deb 05 July 1895 vol 35 c254
MR. STAVELEY HILL (Staffordshire, Kingswinford)

On behalf of the hon. Member for Tower Hamlets, Stepney (Mr. Wootton Isaacson), I beg to ask the Under Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs—(1) whether Her Majesty's Government is aware that the Delagoa Bay Arbitration Tribunal has again postponed pronouncing sentence for ten weeks; (2) whether they are aware it is reported that the Government of the South African Republic is negotiating with that of Portugal for the purchase of the line; and (3) whether they will take steps to ensure that no properties affected by the arbitration shall be disposed of either publicly or privately before the tribunal has pronounced its sentence, so that all the properties sequestrated may remain at the entire disposal of the bondholders in case the sentence should be given in their favour?


By a decision dated the 3rd of June the Court of Arbitration has fixed a period of one month for the filing by each party of a summary, as short as possible, of the points of law and fact on which they base their conclusions; and a period of six weeks for delivery of schedules of the documents comprised in the written cases, the authenticity of which is challenged by either side, and for the enumeration of the points on which it is desired to take oral evidence or the opinion of experts. Both periods are to commence from the 15th of June, the day on which the decision was communicated officially to the British, United States, and Portuguese Legations at Berne. With regard to the last two paragraphs of the question, Her Majesty's Government have no knowledge that such negotiations are in progress. They would be inconsistent with assurances which we have received from Portugal that, until the Award is given, no steps whatever will be taken which will affect the future of the railway.

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