§ MR. CHARLES M'ARTHUR
I beg-to ask the President of the Board of Trade whether he is yet in a position to carry into effect the provision of Clause 2 (5) of the Mercantile Marine Fund Act, 1898, which requires that communications between lighthouses and the shore shall, as far as possible, be available for private messages at reasonable charges; whether the Departmental Committee appointed at the beginning of last year to consider this subject has made any report or recommendation; and whether, in the interest of passengers, sailors, shipowners, merchants, and underwriters he can hold out any hope of the establishment. in the near future, of reporting stations for passing vessels at central points on the more important trade routes such as the Fastnet, Tuskar. the Smalls, and Inistrahul.
§ *MR. HANBURY (for Mr. GERALD BALFOUR)
My right hon. friend regrets that he is not in a position to give a definite reply to my hon. friend's question. The subject of making electrical communication with lighthouses available for private messages has presented and still presents many serious difficulties which are engaging the attention of the Departments concerned. My hon. friend may rest assured that the matter is not being lost sight of.