MR. GIBSONBOWLES (Lynn Regis)
I beg to ask the Secretary of State for the Colonies, whether his attention has 296 been drawn to the differences between the text of the precise terms of Lord Kitchener's letter to General Botha of 7th March, 1901, as telegraphed by Lord Kitchener on the 20th March, and set forth in [Cd. 528], p. 6, and the text of the copy of the same letter as received from Lord Milner on 1st April, and set forth in [Cd. 663], p. 1. Whether, in particular, he has observed that in the latter text there occur the words "being burghers or colonists," which do not occur in the former text; whether he has also observed that in the latter text there occur the words "composed of the principal officials with a legislative Council, "which also do not appear in the former text. Whether these omissions in the text of the precise terms of the letter as telegraphed on 20th March were then observed, and, if so, were any, and, if so, what steps taken to correct them; has any communication been made either to Lord Kitchener or to Lord Milner, with reference to the divergencies in the text of the letter; and which one of the two versions embodies the exact text of the letter as actually sent by Lord Kitchener to General Botha.
§ THE SECRETARY OF STATE FOR THE COLONIES (MR. J. CHAMBERLAIN,) Birmingham W.
The discrepancies referred to were observed when Lord Milner's despatch of the 7th March was received on the 1st April, but it was not thought necessary to correct them because His Majesty's Government had learnt as long previously as the 16th of March that the negotiations had been closed. The enclosure to Lord Milner's despatch, above quoted, is a copy of the letter actually addressed by Lord Kitchener to General Botha, which was in exact accordance with the instructions of His Majesty's Government.