HC Deb 19 March 1900 vol 80 cc1177-8
MR. MENDL (Plymouth)

I beg to ask the Under Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether the British steamship "Mashona" which, while on a passage from New York to South African ports last December, was seized by one of Her Majesty's warships and taken from Algoa Bay to Capetown as a prize, has been released by a judgment of the Court at Capetown; whether Her Majesty's Government has, through the United States Ambassador, undertaken to meet any claims for loss or damage sustained by American subjects interested in the cargo in consequence of the delay in delivery of their goods; and whether claims of British subjects similarly interested will be dealt with on the same footing.


The answer to the first paragraph is in the affirmative. Her Majesty's Government have not admitted liability in respect of any claims of the nature indicated, but they have offered to purchase the flour on board owned by United States citizens. Claims for redress for the non-delivery of the cargo appear to be matter for settlement between such claimants and the ship which undertook to deliver. British subjects who owned goods on board, having no right to trade with the enemy, are not in the same position as foreign owners. The latter are not guilty of any offence in trading with the enemy from a neutral country unless the goods are contraband and are found on board of a ship in British territorial waters or on the high seas, and are destined for the enemy countries.