HC Deb 29 February 1904 vol 130 cc1226-7
MR. BRYCE (Aberdeen, S.)

I beg to ask the Secretary of State for the Colonies whether he will, without prejudice to the power of making further regulations from time to time, cause to be forthwith prepared such and so many regulations regarding the Chinese labour which it is proposed to import into the Transvaal as may be, in the first instance, necessary in order to carry out the provisions of the Ordinance and the pledges which he has himself given; and whether he will cause these regulations to be communicated to Parliament before authorising the embarkation of any Chinese for South Africa.


These regulations are being prepared. They will be laid upon the Table as soon as they are completed. I will not sanction the embarkation of any labourers till I am satisfied that the pledges which I have given to' the House are embodied in the regulations. Beyond this I cannot give any further undertaking.


Do I understand that labourers may be embarked before the House has seen the regulations?


No, Sir; that will probably not be the fact. My right hon. friend will see that there must be a very considerable proceeding by way of explanation of the contract, and so forth, in China before any embarkation can take place. The regulations which prescribe that procedure will be laid on the Table immediately they are passed.

MR. ASHTON (Bedfordshire, Luton)

I beg to ask the Secretary of State for the Colonies whether the regulations under the Chinese Labour Ordinance will be framed before Chinese labourers are recruited in China, if not, what steps will be taken to enable the superintendent of labourers in China to inform the labourers of the proposed terms of service.


Yes, Sir, the regulations which concern the terms of service as laid down in the contract must obviously be framed before definite contracts are made.