HC Deb 12 June 1896 vol 41 cc972-3
MR. JOHN MORLEY (Montrose Burghs)

On behalf of my right hon. Friend the Member for West Monmouthshire (Sir WILLIAM HARCOURT), I beg to ask the Secretary of State for the Colonies, whether it is understood that Mr. Rhodes is at present invested with no legal or official authority in regard to the administration of the territory of the South Africa Company, and whether the Government have communicated this view to the Company; whether Mr. Rhodes still remains nominally the Managing Director of the Company in South Africa, and what are his present functions and powers in that capacity; whether the power of attorney given to Mr. Rhodes to do all acts which the Company might do in South Africa is still in force; what is the effect of that document; and, whether he will lay a Copy of it upon the Table?


I have had no communication yet with the Company on the subject of Mr. Rhodes's powers. I was not till yesterday in a position to form an opinion on the subject, and I gave the right hon. Gentleman yesterday the earliest information in reply to his Question; but I shall no doubt hear from the Company on the subject, or will write myself. As regards the further Questions, the scheme of administration of the territory of the Chartered Company is contained in the Matabeleland Order in Council of July 1894, and does not provide for the intervention of a director, either an ordinary or a managing director, so that Mr. Rhodes appears not to be at present invested with any legal or official authority in regard to the administration of the territory. Mr. Rhodes, so far as I am aware, still remains nominally the managing director of the Company in South Africa, and I am not in a position to define the extent of his functions and powers in that capacity, and I am not acquainted with the instructions which the Company may have given to him during their six years' working. I have placed a copy of the power of attorney on the Table. It is still in force so far as I know, but I am unable to give a legal opinion upon its general effect. If the right hon. Gentleman wishes to know what its effect may be with reference to any given state of facts, I shall be obliged if he will state the facts and address his Question to the Law Officers.