HC Deb 26 February 1907 vol 169 cc1424-5

I beg to ask the Under-Secretary of State for the Colonies whether it is the intention of His Majesty's Government that unprotected native women and children may be handed over, at the will of the chief of their tribe, for terms of three years, away from the protection of the British flag, to settlers many of whom are time-expired criminals from the penal settlements of France.


I am not quite clear whether the hon. Member refers to recruiting for service with French settlers in New Caledonia or in the New Hebrides; but in either case His Majesty's Government must repudiate the suggestion that the French Government, with whom the responsibility rests, will not make full arrangements for the protection of all natives employed by Frenchmen. The further imputation which appears to be contained in the hon. and gallant Member's Question that women and children may be engaged for service either with or without indentures by the will of their tribal chief irrespective of their own wishes is also of course totally without support or justification.


Is it the case that the British Government have no control over or responsibility for natives recruited for New Caledonia?


I must ask for notice of that Question, which is not only one of law, but also touches the domain of another Power.