HC Deb 23 May 1906 vol 157 cc1250-1

To ask the Under-Secretary of State for the Colonies whether his attention has been called to a statement by Mr. Seddon that communications which have passed between the Colonial Office and the Australasian Governments on the question of Australasian alien legislation show a tendency on the part of the British Government to question the right of the Austalasian Governments to control immigration; whether any communications of this character have come from the British Government; and whether it will be freely recognised by the Colonial Office that Australasia is fully entitled to legislate as may seem proper to Australasians on the question of immigration.

(Answered by Mr. Runciman.) The secretary of State's attention has been drawn to Press reports of statements by Mr. Seddon to the effect referred to by the hon. Member, but if these reports are correct Mr. Seddon is mistaken in supposing that the secretary of State is pursuing a policy on the subject of immigration into Australasia which differs in the smallest degree from that outlined in the proceedings of the Colonial Conference of 1897, and consistently observed both by the right hon. Member for West Birmingham and Mr. Lyttleton. The secretary of State has every reason to believe that the Australasian Governments fully recognise that the question of immigration has a direct bearing on the external relations of those Colonies, and he has no doubt that their Governments will continue in the future, as they have done in the past, to give full weight to the views of His Majesty's Government.