HC Deb 16 March 1904 vol 131 cc1251-2
SIR HENRY FOWLER (Wolverhampton, E.)

I beg to ask the Secretary of State for India whether his attention has been called to an enclosure contained in Lord Milner's despatch of the 25th January, 1904, page 15 [Cd. 1941], in which, in a quotation from the Times of Natal, it is stated that it was at first hoped that the labour would be forth coming from India, but the foolish and obstinate attitude of the Indian Government has made that hope a vain one, and that the colony had been forced back, as a last resort, upon the China man; whether he can inform the House as to what was the attitude of the Indian Government which is described as foolish and obstinate; whether there has been any correspondence between the Secretary of State or the Indian Government with reference to the immigration of Indian coolies into the Transvaal Colony; and, if so, whether he will lay the same upon [the Table of the House.


The extract from a: Natal newspaper referred to in the Question is entirely unjustified by the facts. The Government of India has never been invited to allow coolies to be recruited for labour in the mines of the Transvaal. Correspondence is proceeding with reference to the position of Indian subjects in the Transvaal and the possibility of recruiting Indian coolies for work on Government railways in that colony, but it has not reached a point at which it would be laid before Parliament.


Do I understand that no communications have passed between the two Governments with reference to the importation of Indian natives into the Transvaal for mining purposes?


No correspondence whatever has taken place between the two Governments with reference to the recruitment of Indian coolies for employment in the mines of the Transvaal.