HC Deb 21 February 1906 vol 152 c338

I beg to ask the Under-Secretary of State for the Colonies what steps were taken by His Majesty's late Administration to secure to the taxpayers of this Country the contribution of £30,000,000 which the late Colonial Secretary stated the Transvaal Colony and a certain group of financial houses engaged in business in that Colony had undertaken to raise and pay in consideration of the loan of £35,000,000 granted to that Colony by the South Africa Loan and War Contribution Act, 1903, what was the nature of the security obtained or demanded by the right hon. Member for West Birmingham for the £30,000,000 in question, when he assented to such loan as the representative of the late Administration; and what steps His Majesty's present Ministers intend to take to make good to the Exchequer the £30,000,000 in question.


I would refer the hon. Member to the statement made by the late Secretary of State in the House of Commons on 20th and 22nd March, 1905, and to his reference to the contribution in his despatch of 31st March (Page 5 of Cd. 2400) from which it appears that no effective steps were taken by His Majesty's late Government and that no actual security was obtained or demanded by the right hon. Member for West Birmingham for what his successor described as a debt of honour and a matter left for the decision of the new Elective Assembly. His Majesty's Government are not yet in a position to announce the action they propose to take in this matter, but having regard to the fact that the guarantee by the British Government of the South African Loan of £35,000,000 was given to some extent contingently upon the promise of this contribution, and that, in virtue of the guarantee, substantial pecuniary advantage has accrued to the Transvaal Colony, His Majesty's Government are by no means prepared to regard such an obligation as one which can be lightly set aside.