§ MR. DAVITT
I beg to ask the Secretary of State for the Colonies whether the probable supply of coal by British colonies to the belligerents in the impending conflict between Spain and the United States is engaging the attention of Her Majesty's Government; and whether, in view of the fact that coal is an indispensable portion of the fighting equipment of modern ironclads, and for naval operations generally, Her Majesty's Government will consider the advisability of notifying at once to British colonies and merchants that coal must be considered as a contraband of war during the continuance of hostilities between the Powers referred to?
§ THE FIRST LORD OF THE TREASURY (Mr. A. J. BALFOUR,) Manchester, E.
My right hon. Friend has asked me to reply to this. We cannot lay down the principle that coal is contraband of war in the unqualified manner suggested by the hon. Member. It, no doubt, very frequently is contraband, but not of necessity, or under all circumstances.
§ MR. SWIFT MACNEILL
Was coal declared to be contraband of war by the Britannic Government during the Crimean War?
§ MR. W. ALLAN (Gateshead)
Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that coal is sometimes of far greater importance than ammunition in time of war?
§ [No Reply.]