§ MR. ALFRED DAVIES (Carmarthen Boroughs)
To ask the Postmaster-General if he is aware that the New Zealand mails were due and arrived in New York at ten o'clock on the morning of Saturday the 30th May, and the Post-master of New York sent to the Cunard Steamship Company to ask if they would let their steamer "Campania," which was to leave the docks at 9 a.m. on that day, slacken speed in the river, and he would send a special tug with the mails, getting them on board by noon, and that the Cunard Steamship Company did not see their way to so act, although considerations of tide did not prevent, with the result that the mails had to remain in New York from Saturday till the following Wednesday; and if so, will he see if there can now be an arrangement with the Cunard steamship Company to provide for taking such mails on board under similar circumstances.
(Answered by Mr. Austen Chamberlain.) I am informed that if the "Campania" had waited for the New Zealand mail, as suggested, she would have been unable to cross the bar of New York Harbour until one o'clock or later, which, as the tide was ebbing, might have involved more risk than the circumstances justified, and might have 848 necessitated delay for the next tide. The Cunard Company are not under contract with me for the conveyance of mails from New York to this country, but they have assured me that, when their New York agents can safely detain one of their homeward-bound steamers for the New Zealand mail, they will do so. I may add that I am informed that the Company's vessels have waited for these mails on more than one occasion, and have received the thanks of the agent for New Zealand at San Francisco for so doing.