HC Deb 20 February 1900 vol 79 c591

I beg to ask the First Lord of the Treasury if he could explain to the House the circumstances which have influenced the Lords of the Treasury to authorise Her Majesty's Board of Customs to allow, upon certain conditions, the exportation of carbolic acid and other similar articles, the exportation of which was recently strictly prohibited by Royal Proclamation; whether the bulk of these articles is exported in a crude state and is refined on the Continent (frequently being mixed with other raw material produced there), so as to make it impossible to trace the ultimate destination of any particular consignment after it has been refined or converted; and whether, as the object of that proclamation was to prevent articles which are capable of being converted into lyddite, melinite, and other high explosives, and for the supply of which Continental and other nations mainly rely upon this country, from reaching the Queen's enemies he will rigidly enforce the original terms of the Royal Proclamation.


I am informed that very careful inquiry was made into the export trade in carbolic acid and other similar articles. It was proved to the satisfaction of the Government that there was a large and innocent trade in these articles in foreign countries and in the colonies with which it is clearly inexpedient to interfere. The destination of these consignments can be traced very accurately; indeed, a largo proportion of the exported material comes back to this country. My hon. friend may rest assured that the instructions which have been given will not in any way defeat the object of the proclamation.