HC Deb 12 July 1906 vol 160 cc1037-8

To ask the Under-Secretary of State for the Colonies whether, in the case of the Tanjong Pagar Dock Company, arbitration was resorted to at the suggestion of the Straits Government; whether any attempt was made to come to terms for a price, either before or after expropriation had been resolved upon, and, if so, with what result; did the company make any offer to the Government to dispose of their interests, and, if so, what were the terms of the offer; what have been the detailed costs of the arbitration, in fees to arbitrators and umpire and in other incidental expenses, respectively; who will pay the award and the costs of; arbitration; will the Colonial Office furnish any correspondence or other papers in relation to these subjects; and is he aware that the award represents double the price of the shares at the time when notice of expropriation was given.

(Answered by Mr. Churchill.) It was the view of the late Secretary of State that the sum to be paid should be determined by mutual agreement, or, failing that, by arbitration. After notice of expropriation had been given, an offer was made by the Governor of $240 per share, being rather above the market quotation prior to the notice. The company asked for $700 and there appeared to be no prospect of reducing this wide difference by further negotiations. It will not be possible to state the cost of the arbitration until the accounts have been received and paid. The award and costs will be paid in the first instance by the Government of the Straits Settlements, and will be a charge on the undertaking acquired. The Secretary of State will consider the question of laying Papers on the subject. The award represents more than three times the price of the shares at the time stated in the last part of the Question.