§ MR. SEYMOUR KING (Hull, Central)
To ask the Postmaster General whether he is aware that the Express Companies in the United States have declined to facilitate the arrangements made between the British Post Office and the American Express Company; whether loss will be incurred on many parcels forwarded under the new arrangement; and will he say whether the British Post Office bears any, and. if so, what portion of this loss; and, seeing that the British 1386 Post Office undertakes free delivery of parcels to the consignees in the United States, including payment of the United States customs duty, will he say how it protects itself from loss, should the required 10 per cent, deposit prove in-sufficient; and, seeing that the United States customs duty is in nearly all cases far in excess of the amount which would be covered by a 10 per cent, deposit, has the British Post Office arranged for any special facilities to be given for the transit of goods through the United States customs.
(Answered by Mr. Austen Chamberlain.) I am not aware that the Express Companies in the United States have declined to facilitate the arrangements made with the American Express Company for the exchange of parcels with the United States, nor have I any reason to suppose that the Company will be unable to carry out the obligations into which it has entered. I do not know whether any of these obligations will involve the Company in loss; but they will entail none on the British Post Office. The senders of parcels which are to be delivered free in the United States sign an undertaking which makes them legally responsible for the customs charges. It is this legal responsibility which protects the Post Office in this case, as in others of the same kind. Proper facilities have been secured for the transit of British postal parcels through the United States Customs.