§ COLONEL LOCKWOOD (Essex, Epping)
I beg to ask the Secretary of State for the Colonies whether an English banking company, with headquarters at Cape Town and Johannesburg, have been affording help to the Pretoria Government in minting operations by the loan of a salaried official of the company, who is employed by them as metallurgist and assayer; and whether such assistance by an Englishman to a foreign govern- 315 ment with which we are at war is legal; and if not, whether Her Majesty's Government propose to take any steps in the matter.
§ THE SECRETARY OF STATE FOR THE COLONIES (Mr. J. CHAMBERLAIN,) Birmingham, W.
I have made inquiries, and am informed that the official in question was engaged by the Transvaal Government in October without communication with the board of the bank, or with the general manager at Cape Town. As soon as the facts became known, he was called upon by the board at once to withdraw from his position and leave the enemy's country. Before these directions had reached him the manager at Johannesburg had issued similar instructions. But the State Secretary at Pretoria refused permission to the official to leave, and his connection with the bank was accordingly terminated. I am informed that the State Secretary of the South African Republic has since reconsidered his decision, and it is believed that the person referred to has left the Transvaal. Voluntary assistance of the kind suggested to a foreign government with which we are at war would not be legal, but under the circumstances above detailed, it does not appear necessary to take any steps in this matter.