§ MR. MEYSEY-THOMPSON (Staffordshire, Handsworth)
On behalf of the hon. Member for Gravesend, I beg to ask the Under-Secretary of State for the-Colonies whether he is aware that Lord Selborne has given authority for the publication of the correspondence relating to the applications of groups of mines and associations in the Transvaal for facilities similar to those requested of Portugal by this Government for the Robinson group of mines for recruiting natives in Portuguese East Africa; whether the publication of this correspondence will be made at once; and whether the Portuguese Government decline to give special facilities to any single mine or group of mines on the basis of unequal treatment.
THE UNDER-SECRETARY FOR THE COLONIES (Mr. CHIKCHILL, Manchester, N.W.)
The Secretary of State understands that the Johannesburg Chamber of Mines is publishing the correspondence which it has had with Lord Selborne on the subject. Negotiations with the Portuguese Government am now proceeding, and it is not desirable to make any statement as to the course which they have followed up to the present; nor is the Secretary of State prepared to publish Papers until the negotiations are completed.
§ MR. CHURCHILL
Lord Selborne has given his permission to the Chamber of Mines to publish the correspondence they have had with him. Therefore the publication of the correspondence is a proper action for the Chamber of Mines to take. But I do nor agree that that fact in any way renders it necessary for His Majesty's Government to publish Blue-books except at such periods as may be convenient, and at such moments as they may be desired to give information to the House of Commons.
§ MR. MEYSEY-THOMPSON
May I ask the hon. Gentleman whether he will publish the correspondence as soon as possible?
§ MR. CHURCHILL
I am not at all convinced that the correspondence is of sufficient importance to figure in a Government Blue-book.