§ MR. D. A. THOMAS (Merthyr Tydvil)
To ask the Under Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs if his attention has been called to the reference on page 10, in Mr. Consul Neville Rolfe's Report on the Trade of South Italy for 1901, to the position of a foreign firm in the coal trade; and, if so, will he say whether the instructions given to our Consuls abroad prohibit the use of Consular reports as a medium of advertisement for particular firms; and, if not, will he consider the propriety of issuing some such instruction for their future guidance.
(Answered by Lord Cranborne.) The answer to the first Question is in the affirmative. The rule is that no particular mercantile house or firm should be mentioned in such a manner as to lay a Consular officer open to the charge of favouritism. The publication of the passage, which does not in the opinion of the Secretary of State constitute an infringement of the rule, was approved by him.