SIR EDWARD SASSOOX (Hythe)
I beg to ask the Secretary of State for India whether the Indian Government receives the same rate for the transit across India of messages between the Governments of the Australasian Colonies and the United Kingdom as is received for commercial telegrams; and, if not, what transit rate is paid by each of the various Governments concerned, and for what period in each case such rate has been in use; will he state the total number of words which, for each year from 1891–2 till the present time, has been exchanged between India and the United Kingdom as Stale or Govern- 1340 ment messages; whether, for each of the years in question, the Governments of India and the United Kingdom have paid for Government telegrams the same rate as currently charged for commercial telegrams; and, if not, will he state during what period and to what extent such rate for Government telegrams between India and the United Kingdom has been varied; and, if it is convenient to furnish the number of words in these Government telegrams, will he give the sum annually paid since 1801–2 by the Indian Government for such telegrams sent and received between India and the United Kingdom.
§ LORD G. HAMILTON
The transit rate across India for messages of the Governments of the Australasian Colonies and the United Kingdom is the same as that received for commercial telegrams. The second and fourth questions will have to be referred to India for an answer. State messages from India include messages to the War Office, Admiralty, etc., and we have no information in this Office regarding these. The answer to the third question is "Yes." Government messages between India and the United Kingdom are paid for at the same rate as commercial messages.
§ SIR EDWARD SASSOON
I beg to ask the Secretary of State for India whether, in view of the impossibility of gathering complete information on the subject from some of the annual reports published by the Indian Government Telegraph Department, he will give separately the number of words constituting the telegrams which for each year have passed over the Indian land lines from Bombay to Madras and vice rersa as transit messages under the headings of private, State, and press, since the Indian Government became a partner with the Eastern Telegraph Company, the Eastern Extension, etc., Telegraph Company, and the Indo-European Telegraph Company, in the fund which, being known as the Australian Message Fund, was formed in 1891–2 in connection with the reduction of telegraph rates between the United Kingdom and Australia; and will he give separately under the above headings the total sum for each year since India became partner to this Australian Message 1341 Fund, which has been received by India as transit rate; and also the total sum for each year which would have been paid to India for the number of words which have actually been carried in transit, at the rate which prevailed before the reduction in 1891–2 of the Indian transit rate, made in favour of telegrams to and from Australia and the Far East.
§ LORD G. HAMILTON
As I understand the question, it means a wish to know the number of words, divided into private, State, and press, which have transited India between Bombay and Madras, and have been exchanged with Australia on the one side and the west of India on the other. Also the revenue derived from such messages under the present Indian transit rate, and the revenue which would have been derived from the same number of words under the Indian transit rate in force previous to the Australasian Message Fund Agreement. I am afraid I cannot give this information, though I could give the revenue or charge without much difficulty. If my hon. friend will communicate with me I will see what I can do to enable him to get the information he desires.
§ SIR EDWARD SASSOON
I beg to ask the Secretary to the Treasury, as representing the Postmaster General, if he would say whether in all cases, as is the case at present in communicating with India, the full commercial rate is charged for Government telegrams exchanged with the United Kingdom; and, if not, in the case of which telegraph companies and to which countries a rate less than the full rate is charged for Government telegrams; and can he state the number of words or the total value of telegrams which, annually passing as Government telegrams, have been sent and received between the United Kingdom and India since the year 1891–2.
§ THE FINANCIAL SECRETARY TO THE TREASURY (Mr. AUSTEN CHAMBERLAIN,) Worcestershire, E.
No, Sir. Reduced rates are charged to South Africa and certain places in East Africa and West Africa by the Eastern Telegraph Company and its associated com- 1342 panies; to Australasia and certain places in Asia beyond India by the Eastern Extension Telegraph Company; to North America by the North Atlantic Cable Companies; to the West Indies by the North Atlantic Cable Companies and the West India Telegraph Direct Company; to South America, so far as the Eastern and its associated telegraph companies and the North Atlantic Cable Companies are concerned, and to Cyprus, by the Eastern Telegraph Company. The Postmaster General is not in a position to state the number of words or the value of Government telegrams between the United Kingdom and India, seeing that many of the telegrams do not pass through the hands of his officials, but are dealt with direct by the companies.