MR. GIBSON BOWLES (Lynn Regis)
I beg to ask the Under Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether he is aware that the Naval commander of Her Majesty's vessels on the Newfoundland station had closed the lobster factories in St. George's Bay, and has confiscated the boilers and all the products of the industry, and that a short time ago a 356 party was landed from H.M.S. Pelican, who surrounded the factories, ejected the inmates, and seized and took away all the packages of prepared lobsters then ready for shipment; whether a repetition of this process is threatened all along the so-called French shore of Newfoundland; whether these proceedings were undertaken in pursuance of orders from Her Majesty's Government; whether any negotiations on the subject are now proceeding with the French Government: and, if so, whether he can say when they may be expected to be brought to a conclusion?
§ THE SECRETARY OF STATE FOR THE COLONIES (Right Hon. J. CHAMBERLAIN,) Birmingham, W.
Under the modus vivendi with France, in regard to the lobster industry on the Treaty Coast, no person is allowed to engage in the lobster fishery except with the joint consent of the British and French senior Naval officers. Last year numerous persons appear to have commenced operations without the necessary consent, and these illegal factories were closed by the Naval officers in accordance with their instructions. These persons were fully aware that they were breaking the law, and the Naval officers, in carrying out their duties, acted with discrimination and forbearance. No negotiations are at present proceeding with the French Government on this question.