HC Deb 17 December 1906 vol 167 cc1026-7

I beg to ask the Under-Secretary of State for the Colonies whether His Majesty's Government have considered, in view of their determination to bring the employment of Chinese labourers to an end, the political and economic dangers likely to arise in the Transvaal if the supply of native labour for the mines is left, as it is at present, largely under the control of a particular group of mineowners acting under special arrangements with the Governor-General of Mozambique; and, if so, what steps His Majesty's Government is taking to protect the inhabitants of the Colony from those dangers.


His Majesty's Government believe that a satisfactory solution of the matter will be arrived at under responsible government. Meanwhile an inquiry is about to be held into the question of recruiting in Portuguese territory being conducted by one or several agencies.

MR. MACKARNESS (Berkshire, Newbury)

I bog to ask the Under-Secretary of State for the Colonies whether the modus vivendi agreed to between Lord Milner and the Portuguese Government in the 18th December, 1901, contained my provision involving or justifying the grant to a particular group of mineowners of a monopoly of recruiting natives in the province of Mozambique; and, if not, what warrant is there for the attitude of the Portuguese Government in declining to accede to the wishes of His Majesty's Government that the monopoly enjoyed by the Witwatersrand Native Labour Association should be brought to in end.


There is no express provision on the point either in one direction or the other in the text of the modus vivendi agreement. But negotiations are in progress, and I have every expectation that they will reach a satisfactory conclusion.

In reply to a supplementary Question by Mr. Mackarness,


said he believed the Portuguese Government had already consented to give notice of the termination of the present agreement.


Are the negotiations with Portugal carried on by them Colonial Office?


No, by the Foreign Office.