HC Deb 04 February 1904 vol 129 cc342-3
MR. HERBERT SAMUEL (Yorkshire, Cleveland)

I beg to ask the Under-Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether the attention of the Foreign Office has been drawn to the statement, quoted in paragraph 66 of the Majority Report of the Transvaal Labour Commission, to the effect that the natives of the British Central Protectorate, imported into the Transvaal to work in the mines, have proved very unsatisfactory as labourers, and have been dying of pneumonia at a rate which is equal to a rate of 28 per cent. per annum; whether this mortality still continues; and whether the Foreign Secretary will prohibit the recruitment of other labourers in British Central Africa, and will arrange for the repatriation of the survivors.


We are aware of the statement alluded to. The Question has formed the subject of personal investigation by Lord Milner since his return to South Africa. His report shows that of the deaths which had occurred up to December 31st amongst the British Central African natives in the mines, a large proportion was due to an epidemic of influenza which broke out at the time of their arrival. The tenor of his report and of others previously received is not such as in the opinion of the Secretary of State would justify him in altogether prohibiting further recruiting under adequate safeguards, and this opinion has been confirmed by the evidence of the Protectorate officer who accompanied the last recruits. Some of the earlier emigrant? have already returned to the Protectorate. The rest will return at the expiration of their year's contract.

SIR. JOHN GORST (Cambridge University)

Will papers on this subject be laid on the Table of the House immediately?


answer was inaudible.