§ MR. D. A. THOMAS
I beg to ask the First Lord of the Admiralty if he will state when and under what circumstances steam coal has ever been taken by the Admiralty on emergency contracts; whether the Government has notified foreign Powers that a state of war exists between the British Empire and the South African Republics; why none of the contracts for the supply of steam vessels' coals to the Government in times 917 of emergency have been put into force during the past few months; and when he makes the proposed modifications in the present form of emergency contract, will he consider the desirability of securing the right to claim all the produce of collieries entering into the contract at the market price of the day during the period of an emergency, and of paying some small subsidy in consideration, as is now done to shipowners and owners of horses.
* MR. GOSCHEN
The answer to the hon. Member's first question is—In 1888 for the naval manœuvres. Since then the emergency contracts have not provided for the case of the annual manœuvres; the answer to the second question is in the affirmative; the answer to the third question is that the circumstances at the time did not render it necessary to draw coal under the emergency contracts—we have done better without them: in regard to the last question, care will be taken when new emergency contracts are made to consider every reasonable suggestion which is made, but the hon. Member will not, I am sure, expect me to say more.