HC Deb 17 April 1896 vol 39 cc1180-1

I beg to ask the Secretary of State for the Colonies, whether Her Majesty's Government have decided to send an additional Military force to South Africa; and, if so, what troops are to go?


Her Majesty's Government have decided to replace the troops which Sir H. Robinson has withdrawn from the seaboard Colonies and ordered into the interior. Accordingly, a battalion of the Line and a body of Mounted Infantry will be dispatched to South Africa as soon as possible. This movement is connected with the decision of the Government to make a permanent increase in the garrison of the Cape, a step which has been urged upon them by the Military Authorities, who are of opinion that the present garrison is not adequate to the defences of the Dockyard and Coaling Stations. To prevent the possibility of misapprehension, I may add that Her Majesty's Government are decidedly of opinion that, except in a case of the greatest emergency, Imperial troops are not the best suited to put down a native insurrection, which can be most promptly-dealt with by local forces. This opinion has been confirmed by past experience in South Africa, and is held universally by all the most competent authorities in South Africa and this country. There is an ample supply of men and arms at present in South Africa, and the only difficulty is in connection with transport and the provision of horses.