HC Deb 15 February 1900 vol 79 cc72-3
MR. BARTLEY () Islington, N.

I beg to ask the Under Secretary of State for War whether he is aware that the present uncertainty as to the customs regulations in Cape Town and Natal is checking the sending of parcels of tobacco and other comforts for the troops when the parcels are too large to go by post: whether seeing that parcels urgently needed by the soldiers may remain indefinitely at the Custom House unless some system of paying the duties is established, arrangements can be made either for enabling the senders of parcels to pay the-colonial duties in this country or for appointing an officer in South Africa to do this; and whether in some other way the War Office will make arrangements so that it shall be possible and reasonably certain for these comforts to reach our soldiers, and that without unnecessary delay.


The privilege of sending parcels of tobacco and other presents to the troops free of the Colonial Customs duties was originally intended by the Government of Cape Colony to apply only to parcels. A letter from Mr. Hamilton Gatliffe, dated January 20th, seems to show that the Capo Customs authorities were not then prepared to go so far in respect of large consignments as I gathered to be the case from his telegram of January 29th. It may be that the later and more liberal attitude indicated by the telegram is the one which the Cape Government has finally decided to adopt. But to avoid any chance error I must ask my hon. friend to allow me to confer with the Colonial Secretary.