§ SIR CHARLES DILKE
I beg to ask the Under Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, with reference to Sir John Kirk's statement that the rules in force are practically prohibitory to native trade, and that the Brass people, must be smugglers if they are to trade at all, whether Sir John Kirk has made recommendations as to the future of the Niger Coast Protectorate and the neighbouring territories under the control of the Niger Company; whether Her Majesty's Government will be prepared shortly to announce the decision at which they may arrive; and, whether the consideration of the subject will include the desirability of placing the Protectorate under the control of the Colonial Office?
§ THE UNDER SECRETARY OF STATE FOR FOREIGN AFFAIRS (Mr. GEORGE CURZON,) Lancashire, Southport
Sir John Kirk made various confidential suggestions as to remedies for the trade grievances dealt with in his Report. Further local inquiries have since been made by instructions from Her Majesty's Government, but we have not yet received the results. It is obvious from Sir John Kirk's Report that there are complicated questions at issue requiring mature consideration, and I am afraid that I cannot give any under taking as to the early announcement of the decision of the Government. It is not proposed to transfer the administration of the Protectorate to the Colonial Office.