§ MR. CHANNING (Northamptonshire, E.)
I beg to ask the First Lord of the Treasury whether any opportunity has been open of free communication by cable and messenger with Mr. Steyn and Mr. Schalk Burger to convey without delay to them, as the persons in whom all powers of government including those of negotiation, the correspondence with the Netherlands Government; or whether steps have been taken to facilitate such communication.
§ THE FIRST LORD OF THE TREASURY (Mr. A. J. BALFOUR,) Manchester, E.
Copies of the correspondence were sent to Lord Milner by the mail of February 1. He will be instructed by telegraph to ask Lord Kitchener to communicate them to the Boer leaders in the field.
§ MR. LABOUCHERE (Northampton)
I beg to ask the Under-Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, whether the statement in the Despatch of the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs of 29th January to the Dutch Government, that the most satisfactory means of arranging a settlement would be by direct communication between the leaders of the Boer forces in South Africa and the Commander-in-Chief of His Majesty's forces, who has already been instructed to forward any such offers he may receive for the consideration of His Majesty's Government, is to be understood to mean that, if a proposal is made by the leaders of the Boer forces to confer with the Commander-in-Chief with a view to a settlement, such proposal would be forwarded for the consideration of His Majesty's Government. And, whether, in view of the statement in this Despatch, that His Majesty's 508 Government has understood that all powers of government, including those of negotiation, are now completely vested in Mr. Steyn for the Boers of the Orange River Colony, and in Mr. Schalk Burger for those of the Transvaal, were a proposal to emanate from the negotiations, and be submitted by them to the Commander-in-Chief of His Majesty's forces in South Africa, it would be forwarded for consideration to His Majesty's Government.
§ THE SECRETARY OF STATE FOR THE COLONIES (Mr. J. CHAMBERLAIN,) Birmingham, W.
The answer to both questions is in the affirmative.