HC Deb 18 February 1907 vol 169 cc540-2
MR. LONSDALE (Armagh, Mid.)

I beg to ask the Under-Secretary of State for the Colonies whether, in view of the protest by the Premier of Newfoundland, in the Colonial Legislature, on Tuesday, against the humiliation of the Colony by the Imperial Government, the Secretary of State will lay upon the Table of the House all the correspondence that passed between the Colonial Government and His Majesty's Government with respect to the modus vivendi with the United States.


All the correspondence with the Government of Newfoundland respecting the modus vivendi with the United States, up to the date of the conclusion of that arrangement, having already been laid before Parliament, I presume that the correspondence which the hon. Member desires to have published is that which has taken place since the conclusion of the modus vivendi. The Government of Newfoundland recently suggested publication of certain parts of this correspondence, but were informed that His Majesty's Government did not think this expedient until the Colonial Government were in possession of the reply of His Majesty's Government to the various objections taken by the Colonial Government to their action, that the preparation of this reply was delayed by the necessity of awaiting the result of the appeal to the Supreme Court of the two fishermen convicted under the Bait Act, since it was not possible to discuss the legal considerations urged by the Colonial Government until that result was known, and that in any case it seemed open to exception to publish papers on a matter still sub judice. I am unable to say when the decision of the Supreme Court will be given, but the hon. Member will no doubt agree that His Majesty's Government can hardly be expected to lay the correspondence while it is still incomplete.

SIR HOWARD VINCENT (Sheffield Central)

Having regard to the debate in the Newfoundland Legislature cannot Papers be laid?


It is not proposed to lay any further Papers at present, but when the transaction is completed no doubt it will be done.


When did the modus vivendi of last year lapse?


I must ask for notice of that.