§ MR. COWAN (Surrey,Guildford)
I beg to ask the Under-Secretary of State for the Colonies whether all material facts connected with the negotiations for the lease of the Ceylon pearl fisheries, and the actual terms thereof, can be made public, so that the fullest information may be at the disposal of the House.
§ MR. CHURCHILL
I do not know of any material facts which are not included in the Blue-book which has already been laid before the House.
§ MR. RIDSDALE
May I ask if the prospectus of the Ceylon Company of Pearl Fishers was before the Colonial Office at the time it sanctioned the lease?
§ MR. SMEATON (Stirlingshire)
Seeing that there is a good deal of con fidential correspondence in connection with this case, may I ask how it was that while the negotiations were proceeding, a group of South African financiers who held a large number of shares—
§ * MR. SPEAKER
Order, order. Notice should be given of the Question, as the facts could not be within the knowledge of the Under-Secretary, they having occurred before he was at the Colonial Office.
§ * SIR J. JARDINE (Roxburghshire)
asked whether the late Colonial Secretary was aware that during the progress of the negotiations the Gulf syndicate sold the concession to the Ceylon Company of Pearl Fishers at a profit of about £11,000.
§ MR. CHURCHILL
said he was not aware, and he regretted that the rules of the House precluded the hon. Member from asking the late Colonial Secretary, who was wholly responsible for the arrangement.
§ * SIR J. JARDINE
asked if the Undersecretary was aware that the shares of the Ceylon Company of Pearl Fishers were now being sold at a premium of 1,000 per cent.