HC Deb 05 August 1907 vol 179 cc1533-4
MR. J. M. ROBERTSON (Northumberland, Tyneside)

I beg to ask the Under-Secretary of State for the Colonies whether his attention has been drawn to the situation in the Transvaal Colony arising out of the refusal of the British. Indian population to submit to registration under the Asiatic Law Amendment Act; and whether, in view of the assurances of both His Majesty's Government and General Botha, His Majesty's Government will make representations to the Government of the Transvaal, or take any steps to protect the British-Indian community from imprisonment and deportation.


I can give no information to the House on this question beyond what is generally known. The position is one of unusual difficulty as my hon. friend is aware. His Majesty's Government will take no steps inconsistent with the self-governing Constitution of the Transvaal Colony. But constant inquiry will be made through the High Commissioner.

*SIR H. COTTON (Nottingham, E.)

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that the grievance complained of attaches not so much to the Ordinance as to the regulations made under it—especially to the degrading system of identification by ten finger-print impressions, usually applicable only to the registration of criminals in goals?


said that everyone must regret the application of one particular test to one particular race, but the actual system of identification by finger-prints was a highly scientific system of identification, and he would certainly not be prepared to condemn it. As to the regulations being the cause of a great amount of feeling against the Ordinance, he thought that was perfectly true, but he was sure the Transvaal Government would make the regulations as little painful as possible to the Indian community, who were a very influential community.