HC Deb 25 May 1905 vol 146 cc1377-8

To ask the Postmaster-General whether, having regard to the recommendation made in the first Report of Lord Balfour's Inter-Departmental Committee on Cable Communications (pp. 10 and 11) concerning the Joint-Purse Agreement relating to the transmission of telegrams to and from India, any arrangement has been concluded between His Majesty's Government and the Indo-European Telegraph Company in connection with the recent renewal of the leasing of land wires in this country and submarine cable wires between Lowestoft and the German coast; whether the terms of such agreement, if any, would be furnished to this House; and what effect such arrrangement will have in the direction of terminating or modifying the period of duration of the Joint-Purse Agreement as recommended in the Report of the above-mentioned Committee.

(Answered by Lord Stanley.) The negotiations recommended by Lord Balfour's Committee proved to be complicated and difficult, and it was not found practicable to effect the termination of the Joint-Purse Agreement in the manner proposed; but, in connection with the renewal of the lease of wires to the Indo-European Telegraph Company, to which the hon. Member refers, steps were taken to provide, as far as possible, that obstacles should not be placed in the way of reasonable reductions of tariff in the future. This was the main ground on which Lord Balfour's Committee, desired to terminate the Joint-Purse Agreement.