HC Deb 22 June 1905 vol 147 cc1333-4
MR. LOUGH (Islington, W.)

I beg to ask the Secretary of State for War why were the fortnightly reports of the stocks of goods hold in South Africa discontinued at the 31st of December, 1902; did any cargoes of war stores arrive after the 1st of January, 1903; and were the large stocks which had then accumulated all sold locally, at some such scales of prices as those obtained for forage, and described in the Butler Report.


These fortnightly reports were telegraphed reports, which originated during the war for the guidance of the War Office in the maintenance of the supplies required by the troops in the field. In view of the cost of these cablegrams, and as similar information was also given in a monthly state of supplies rendered by mail, the telegraphed reports were considered no longer necessary and were dispensed with on March 18th, 1903. The monthly states were continued. No cargoes of war supplies, so far as is known at the War Office, arrived in South Africa after the 1st January, 1903. As regards the last part of the Question the reply is in the negative. These stocks were disposed of, some at prices approved by the War Office, others at prices approved locally; some were sent to England for disposal, some were condemned as bad, and some still remain.


Will the right hon. Gentleman publish these monthly reports which go on after the fortnightly reports?


I think I ought not to undertake to publish isolated War Office Papers. All these statements as they are required for the purposes of the inquiry will be produced.

SIR ROBERT REID (Dumfries Burghs)

Did the monthly states disclose the names of the buyers of the stocks in South Africa and the prices?


The prices, yes. One set of reports did disclose the names. The others not.