HC Deb 21 March 1901 vol 91 cc708-9
MR. TAYLOR (Lancashire, Radcliffe)

I beg to ask the Under Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, in view of the fact that under our extradition treaty with the United States a bankrupt debtor may defy his British creditors upon his arrival in the United States, whether the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs will endeavour to get an amended extradition treaty under which absconding bankrupts may be made amenable to our bankruptcy laws.

MR. SCHWANN (Manchester, N.)

I beg, at the same time, to ask the Under Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether he is aware that when the extradition treaty or treaties which govern the relations of this country and the United States of America were con-eluded no provisions were made for offences under the bankruptcy laws; and whether negotiations have been proceeding with the Government of the United States to remedy this alleged want; if so, whether the matter will be dealt with without any unnecessary delay in the interests of the commercial community, as cases of loss to the business world in both countries are not infrequent.


His Majesty's Government have endeavoured on more than one occasion of late years to make provision for the mutual surrender in extradition of persons charged with offences against the bankruptcy laws in this country and in the United States. In 1884 the offence was inserted in the draft of a treaty then under negotiation, but it was not accepted by the United States Government. The proposal was again put forward in 1889 by Her Majesty's Government, but Her Majesty's Ambassador at Washington reported that offences against bankruptcy laws were excluded from all American extradition treaties because no national bankruptcy law existed, and the law varied in each State of the Union. The matter was accordingly not further pressed by His Majesty's Government.

SIR HOWARD VINCENT (Sheffield, Central)

I beg to ask the Under Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether the Senate of the United States has recently ratified an extension of the crimes for which the extradition of criminals can be accorded to Great Britain: and, if so, what crimes may now be added to the list, and, having regard to the policy of the American people to keep their country free from immigration of criminals as evidenced by their legislation, His Majesty's Government will endeavour to make the list of extradition crimes between this country and the United States as complete as between other civilised countries.


His Majesty's Ambassador at Washington reported on the 13th instant that the Senate of the United States had approved a Supplementary Extradition Treaty signed on the 13th of December last. This Treaty adds to the offences mentioned in the Treaties of 1842 and 1889 the following offences:— Obtaining money, valuable securities, or other property by false pretences; wilful and unlawful destruction or obstruction of railroads which endangers human life; procuring abortion. Steps are being taken for the early ratification of this Supplementary Treaty. The list of extradition offences is practically as complete as that contained in the Treaties of other countries with the United States. Further additions will be considered if necessity should arise, and so far as the laws of both countries may permit.