HC Deb 11 June 1901 vol 97 c89

I beg to ask the Secretary of State for the Colonies whether a contract has now been signed in connection with the establishment of the Cape to Australia cable; whether he will state the nature of the landing privileges accorded to the contracting company, more especially with regard to the Cocos Islands; and whether, in view of modern precedents and considering the appeals made by Canada, Australia, and Cape Colony, he will obtain the insertion of an expropriation clause reserving to the State the right of purchase on equitable terms.


No general contract will be signed between His Majesty's Government and the Eastern Telegraph Company in regard to this Cape-Australia cable, but the conditions by which the company will be bound will be embodied in landing licences, shortly to be issued for this cable at Mauritius, Rodrigues, and Cocos Islands, on the lines indicated in my answer to the question of the hon. Member of the 11th March last. † I have not received any appeals from Canada, Australia, and the Cape that an expropriation clause should be inserted in these licences.


Is my right hon. friend aware that responsible bodies in these colonies, such as chambers of commerce and boards of trade, have repeatedly passed resolutions urging the adoption of this clause by the Government.


That is not the question on the Paper. I was asked if appeals had been made by Canada, Australia, and Cape Colony, and my reply to that is in the negative. † See Debates [Fourth Series], Vol. xc., page 1157.