HC Deb 30 July 1907 vol 179 cc841-58

rose to move the adjournment of the House in order to call attention to a definite matter of urgent public importance—namely, the Report of the Select Committee on the Radio-Telegraphic Convention, and the declared intention of His Majesty's Government to proceed to ratification without affording the House an opportunity of discussing the subject. He desired to say in justice to those with whom he had the honour to act that no thoughts of possible Party advantage actuated them. The best proof of what he was advancing lay in the fact that it was by a Unionist vote that the brand of the Chairman's Report was plucked from the burning. It was with unaffected regret that he encroached upon the limited time of the House. He begged respectfully to assure the Prime Minister that it was with the utmost reluctance he had been brought to take; this step. After the handsome manner in which the right hon. Gentleman met him last autumn, the action he now took might appear churlish and ungrateful, but the evidence before the Select Committee revealed lines of cleavage, points of doubt and anxiety as to the prospective outcome of ratification, such as many ingenuous laymen did not suspect. He ventured to think that His Majesty's Government would have been better advised if, in view of the strength of the minority, the extraordinarily conflicting nature of the evidence, the fact that the Post Office Vote, the only avenue to debate, was closed, that the Committee of Defence had not, as far as they were able to gather deliberated upon the Convention in their collective capacity, they had seen their way spontaneously to offer the opportunity which he was now compelled to resort to under the forms of the House. He hoped he had disposed of any reproach of political ingratitude. He now came to the business in hand. The Convention was bound to affect, as any cursory student could see for himself, for weal or for woe, the defensive interests and commercial needs of this country. Let the House read the evidence of the eighteen witnesses who were examined and say if it was not such as to make it extremely doubtful whether the leap in the dark did not constitute a risk for which any counterbalancing advantage, if advantage did result, was likely to offer sufficient compensation. Experts circumvented and contradicted experts beyond anything known in the unravelling even of scientific problems; no sort of common view appeared to animate them, while the divisions of opinion were sharp and irreconcilable. The question that the Committee had before them was whether adhesion at the present moment was or was not expedient. That was the plain issue, and it was on the merits of that issue entirely unencumbered by collateral or subsidiary considerations as to the susceptibility of this or that Power that they had to decide. Of the bearings of our foreign relations they had necessarily no cognisance. These lay within the purview of the authority and responsibility of the Government. If they were committed morally or actually then the reference to the Committee was superfluous. The official view appeared to have been that enforcement of general intercommunication was desirable, less for any tangible good it might do or any injury it might avert, but rather to develop unfledged and embryonic systems. Let them test the soundness of their contention by looking to the experience of the past. The Marconi system, which was the best and most efficient organisation in the world, was developed on lines of non-intercommunication, and now they only asked to be allowed to develop their business in their own way. We were first in the field, and the geographical position of our coast stations gave us an undoubted advantage. Captain Bethell, the chief Admiralty delegate, said that he was opposed to compulsory intercommunication, but he had hit on the idea of relieving certain stations from liability to intercommunicate. But if intercommunication carried with it no risk of disturbance, why exempt any stations? To seek to justify a Convention the first principle of which was compulsory intercommunication, and then in the same breath say that everything was being done to neutralise that principle, showed a confusion of mind. Our delegates had tried to show that our organisation would not suffer in the business of foreign ships; but, when pressed, they had to admit that all foreign ships would take away their Marconi instruments. It was perfectly clear that the wireless organisation as constituted at present, an organisation which the Admiralty admitted to the Committee would give a great advantage to this country in an emergency, would be placed in this dilemma—either it would be ruined by accepting intercommunication, or it would be exposed to the loss of foreign business if the principle of exemption were admitted. The second ground on which the British delegates supported the Convention was that at present it was difficult for ships in British waters to communicate with the British coast. That was irrelevant. Every company and individual of any nationality was at perfect liberty to ask for a licence from the Post Office, and they had only to show that their system was workable on business lines. With regard to ships on the Atlantic seaboard, the delegates declared that, owing to the unwillingness of the Marconi stations to intercommunicate, many ships were unable to send messages. There were no less than thirty-one stations on the Canadian and Newfoundland coasts, and on the American coast there was no prohibition against any one setting up wireless installations. It was only necessary for ships to instal two systems—no very high price to pay to prevent the disturbance of our system here. It appeared, then, that the arguments urged by our official delegates at Berlin were based upon mere phantoms and chimeras. Another point was that if we adhered to this Convention, and it was desired that modifications should be made, Great Britain would have no more voice in the matter than Persia or Uruguay, countries which had no sort of connection with wireless telegraphy. That was a state of things which he felt sure the House would consider was perfectly intolerable. They were told that there ought to be free trade in wireless telegraphy, but he had yet to learn that compulsion in its most drastic form—such as obligatory intercommunication, standard wavelength, and all the rest of it—was consistent with any sort of freedom. He was sorry that the hon. Member for Preston was not present to direct his vigilant battery to this gross violation of all they had been accustomed to associate with the unhampered liberty of the individual. If our fiscal religion made it anathema to defend native industries, in the name of common sense let us not injure them by going out of our way to defend and benefit the industries of the foreigner. If a reliable service on commercial lines existed it would be to the interests of the Marconi Company to accept freely intercommunication so that with the activity which would result more grist would be brought to their mill. But those services and systems to which the Convention looked to see spring up like mushrooms in the night were, judging from the fruitless efforts in the recent past, but vague and nebulous potentialities, on which no sound business concern would be justified in basing its future calculations. It would be time enough to say things were comparable with cables and telephones when wireless services with an acknowledged financial position, with uniform rules of working, with means of calculating charges and settling accounts, were set up. We should wait for the emergence of such conditions and not put the cart before the horse. That serious disturbances might ensue from the provisions of the Convention was never more graphically illustrated than by the very talented delegate, Mr. Babington Smith, as well as the Admiralty delegate, Captain Bethel. Mr. Babington Smith said— Moreover, we must remember that general intercommunication has yet to be carried out in practice. When the impatience of captains, the rivalries of telegraphists, above all when com petition between different systems, and the possible want of accord between apparatus are taken into account, can we be sure that all will go well? The risk of miscarriage is the greatest where the traffic is the most concentrated; and it is precisely at such points that there is the greatest necessity to maintain communication without impediment and without delay. In the case of Great Britain a well-organised service already exists. We wish to preserve the right to retain this service, if necessary, with its present organisation, while placing other stations at the disposal of all the world. In order to show the drawbacks of a General Exchange, let us take an analogy which will appeal, perhaps, to those familiar with ordinary telegraphy. Let us suppose that a region of 20,000 square kilometres is provided with thousands of telegraph wires radiating from a common centre, and that everyone passing, whoever he may be, can transmit telegraphic signals to the centre by attaching any transmitter whatever at any point to any of these wires. It seems to me that the operator at the centre would certainly have a good deal of trouble as regards the efficient working of the system. He knew that an attempt had since been made to explain away these argu- ments on the ground that they were mainly advanced in order to bring the other nations into line with us; but, none the less, anyone who read impartially Mr. Babington Smith's arguments could not but recognise that there was a very substantial basis of fact in them. We were told that if things went wrong all we had to do was to retire from the Convention by giving twelve months notice, but he would ask any hon. Gentleman opposite whether we could possibly expect to hark back, to revert to the old state of things, when such a delicately poised mechanism as the wireless installation was involved. He confessed the prospect filled him with dismay. Much as he hoped to be able to see eye to eye with the Post master-General at the earlier stage of the proceedings, subsequent reflection and a study of the evidence had convinced him that it would be premature and rash to bind our hands in any way. If non-adhesion was going to prove the evil the chairman so confidently predicted, he firmly believed that that evil would be far less so long as we retained unfettered liberty for the British organisation to evolve on the lines they had hitherto so successfully adopted in free and open competition. Why should the Admiralty allow other stations to be made the subject of experiment if they were going to exempt every Admiralty station? It was passing strange that a country occupying such a great maritime position as ours should have been susceptible to the instigation of a foreign Power in this matter. What advantages were we likely to gain by bartering a national asset for a mess of pottage? We, who owned more wireless stations than the rest of the nations of the world put together, need not have dreaded the development of the system. He thought it was a thousand pities that the Colonies should not have been asked for some agreement as to a basis of common action at the Colonial Conference, especially in view of the fact that Canada at any rate, was becoming the point of contact between the East and West. In his judgment the compulsory standardisation, so far from conducing, as had been put forward by one delegate, to scientific development was likely to retard it. Who was likely to set his mind to the problem of inventing a new instrument if he knew that he had got to apply to a foreign Power before his instrument could come into general use? That was not the sort of incentive to make people work for the improvement of wireless telegraphy. There was another count in the indictment against the Marconi system, and that was that they refused to transmit signals of distress. That was perfectly untrue. Anyone who read the instructions which had been very carefully drawn up and issued to every operator, would see that they ought to receive signals of distress if they believed that they were really signals of distress. Then he should like to call attention to the question of the multiplication of dangers which would be caused by the multiplication of wireless telegraphy stations in foreign waters. He vainly endeavoured to persuade the Postmaster General upstairs to take his view of this danger, and it was not going to be diminished but intensified by the ratification of the Radio-telegraphic Convention. There was another point upon which he wished to lay very great stress, namely, that so far as he had been able to gather, the members of the Committee of Defence had not had their minds collectively drawn to the bearing of this Convention.

The SECRETARY of STATE for WAR (Mr. HALDANE,) Haddington

was understood to say that the subject had been considered by the Committee of Defence.


said that in the Committee upstairs they could never get an answer to the inquiry whether the question had been deliberated upon by the Committee of Defence as a body, but, of course, he accepted at once the statement of the Secretary of State for War. He regretted the absence of the Postmaster-General and of the hon. Member for Falmouth who had drawn up the well-reasoned Report on this subject which at onetime struggled for mastery. He would, however, say nothing in regard to that, as if he did he would have a hornet's nest about his ears. Nor did he wish to lay stress on the fact that the wireless telegraphy business of England was transferred to a foreign country as he understood it had been done. He thought anybody who had read the Report impartially must say that there seemed to be a great deal of doubt, hesitation, and misgiving. There was no question of trying to set up a monopoly, and if the Postmaster-General were there he thought he would bear him out in that statement. It seemed to him to be a case of misguided pressure. He hoped that the Government, as the master of many legions, would allow their supporters to vote as they thought fit. If that were done, he trusted they would be able to emancipate the Legislature from the thraldom of officialism. He begged to move.

*Mr. GWYNN (Galway)

, in seconding the Motion, said that the Irish people were exceedingly proud of the fact that Mr. Marconi was half-Irish, and they were grateful because the operations of his company were doing something for Connemara. The West of Ireland should play an important part as a jumping-off station for wireless telegraphy, but the Irish people saw their part in the industry endangered by the precipitate action of the Government. Having regularly attended the sittings of the Committee upstairs and carefully considered the bearing of the Convention, he was strongly opposed to the ratification of the Convention. The matter must be seriously considered by the Government. They had despaired of the Civil Lord of the Admiralty, but they hoped to convince the Secretary of State for War. He believed the one purpose of the Convention was to break up the Marconi Company and to destroy the regulations with which the company had surrounded their organisation. Of course, other objects had been officially suggested. For instance, it was suggested that the Convention would give freedom in this matter to the Navy. But to any one who had studied the subject it was evident that our Government could secure precisely the same freedom for the Navy as was secured by the Convention. Under it the use of wave lengths between 600 and 1,500 metres was restricted to the Navy. There was no reason in the world why the Post Office, when it issued a licence, should not issue it on the condition that the user of the licence should not employ a wave length between 600 and 1,500 metres. That object could be gained without the Convention. So far as concerned the action of foreign ships, they had been told in Committee that, whatever they said in the matter, the Convention would be ratified, and, therefore, he took it for granted that it would bind all other countries except Great Britain. Great Britain could make precisely the same regulations for its own ships, and in that case he did not see why it was necessary to enter the Convention in order to secure the reservation of particular wave lengths for use in the Navy. There seemed to him to be no answer to that. They were told, again, that the object of the Convention was to avoid the confusion existing at the present time. It was impossible to limit the direction of wireless messages; an instrument could simply send out a message that would go all round the compass, and it stood to reason that the messages would tend to interfere with one another. The Convention proposed to avoid that interference by a series of artificial regulations saying that a ship should take a certain order of precedence, and that no two ships should signal the same station at the same time. He maintained that the only true way of avoiding interference was to leave every station absolute freedom as to the wave length used; that was to say, within reasonable limits—say from 600 metres downwards—which would give an ample margin of variation. But the Convention insisted that absolutely no ship and no shore station should use any wave length except one of 300 metres or 600 metres; so that if they had three stations signalling simultaneously within the same radius—and the radius of these dischages was admittedly very wide—it stood to reason that of these ships there must be two on 300 metres or two on 600 metres, and these two stations would be interfering with one another. It had been asserted to them by scientific-persons that with developed instruments it was absolutely possible to "tune" out interference; that was to say, that if a neighbouring station was communicating with a wave length of 300 metres, to avoid disturbance and go on with their business they could "tune" out the interference. That was the natural resource for ships and shore stations to avoid interference, but it would be absolutely prohibited by the Convention, which would only allow of 300 metres and 600 metres. This substituted mechanical inefficiency and inconvenient regulations for the natural resources of the art. The question of confusion was in his opinion not avoided, but was stereotyped by the Convention's regulations; it was precisely these natural resources at their disposal which would be forbidden to them if they signed this Convention. He came now to the other argument. It was supposed by this Convention that they were going to give a fair chance to the other British companies. He thought it was perfectly fair and right that the other companies, whether British or not, should have a fair chance, and nobody proposed to stop them. The Marconi Company expressly said: "If you will only leave us alone, if you will not sign this Convention which forces us practically to intercommunicate, then you may issue licences so far as we are concerned to other stations or other companies which will be willing to intercommunicate, but the present position of the Marconi Company is that they have got the organisation and are able to use a particular instrument and keep control of the whole matter. We refuse absolutely to receive at our stations a message from any station which does not belong to our organisation." The effect of this Convention was to compel them to receive any message by whomsoever sent. The Marconi Company was perfectly willing that the Government should give licences to the rival companies which might be willing to intercommunicate, and which, because they were willing to intercommunicate, would naturally gain a certain amount of business. These rival companies, if rival companies there were, which he very much doubted, would get whatever business there was going. The Marconi Company said, "Very well, so long as you leave us alone, and do not force upon us regulations which are hostile to our system, we are content." In that sense they stood up in defence of what was called their monopoly. He would like to lodge a protest against the use of the word "monopoly." A monopoly was an exclusive right to sell some particular thing, which was conferred by law; but the Marconi Company were only monopolists in this sense, that they were the only people who sold a particular article. If they wanted to send a wireless message by way of the Atlantic to Canada they must rely on the Marconi Company; there was nobody else to buy it from. In that sense they were monopolists if they liked. But why were they monopolists? He asked the House to consider for a moment the history of this company. He did not want to go into the scientific question nor into who first made the discovery of wireless telegraphy; he did not want to go into the question of invention or of who it was that first gave practical application to the principle, nor into the question of priority of commercial application, which was now a most important question in connection with the matter. When the matter was under discussion ten years ago, Mr. Marconi came to this country for the first time with his invention. He believed that if the Post Office had done its duty in times past they would have had none of this trouble now. Whether the Post Office made offers to Mr. Marconi he did not know, but at any rate they did not secure the patent rights. A company was formed and they set to work upon an enormously costly business, namely, the creation of a great commercial organisation with a capital of £750,000. A very large proportion of that £750,000 had been spent in creating the organisation, and up to 1903 the company had no privilege except the free use of the air. It was quite true that the Government could have said to the Marconi Company that the Post Office alone had a right to all telegraphs, that they would not use wireless telegraph themselves, and that they would give nobody else the right. The Department had not done that. The Marconi Company had established their organisation, and they were beholden to the Post Office for having been permitted to be the pioneers in this matter. From 1903 onwards the Post Office had not granted any licences for wireless telegraphy. The Marconi Com- pany had created the great organisation which was called a monopoly. It covered a very great part of the world, and was in existence before 1903. The years which had elapsed since had consolidated that monopoly, because they were the only people who had been carrying on this particular business on a large scale. But he submitted that this monopoly was a most creditable thing, because it was a monopoly which rested not on privilege but upon efficiency. A monopoly which rested on efficiency was no more a monopoly than an artist's monopoly in his own talent. They were the only people in the field at the present time. But now there were other people who wanted to compete. Let them compete. Why could not the Government licence a station on the South Coast or anywhere they liked. There was ample expert evidence before the Committee that these stations need not interfere with the business of neighbouring stations so long as they left them free to use the natural resources at their command. If they were only to transact business with one wave length it was probable that they could not put up a station there at all; but if they were left free to use their own wave length then they could stud the coast with short distance stations. In that sense there was a good chance for rival British companies, and in that way they might make a move which would afford them the only possible chance of ultimate development. He had not the least doubt that when the thing developed they would have intercommunication, but he thought that would be arrived at through the mutual interests of competing organisations. At the present moment there was only one organisation carrying on the business of wireless telegraphy in a commercial sense. The others were merely manufacturers of telegraphic apparatus. What this Convention proposed to do was to allow a man who bought telegraphic apparatus to fix his apparatus and send telegrams to any of the Marconi stations. The Marconi Company said that was unfair; that one of the most important things in this matter was the discipline of the service, that it should be under the control of one company, and that that discipline of service would be sacrificed and destroyed if control was given to several companies. This was a matter upon which he felt very strongly. The Marconi Company were first in the field, and they created their position with no thanks to the Government and no resources that were not equally open to everyone else. Before 1903 they had no privilege or advantage over any competitors, except that of superior enterprise, and they maintained with justice that, if the Convention were ratified now, the use of the organisation which they had created would be given to their rivals. There was evidence given before the Committee which showed that the most efficient and developed apparatus was developed away from the least common measure. That was to say that all the first instruments used in wireless telegraphy were inter-communicative, but it was admitted that one highly-developed instrument would not inter-communicate. That particular apparatus was far more perfect than any other, and if that was put into operation it would not receive signals from any other apparatus. It was highly probable that if inter-communication was enforced on all instruments the effect would be to stereotype an inferior instrument. One witness told them that all that could be got over in a short time, but others told them "nothing of the sort." His strongest objection to this Convention was the stereotyping of "wave lengths," the meaning of which was that if there were three ships all signalling within close proximity of each other and all signalling in the same wave length, that the three sets of signals would become confused when received at the station. If those ships were allowed to choose their own wave lengths it would be like having three separate wires instead of one. The Convention said that there should only be one, which showed that they were legislating for something which they had not studied and did not understand. To his mind the strongest objection to the Convention was the stereotyping of the wave lengths. He earnestly appealed to the Secretary of State for War to consider what we were doing before we went into this matter, and before we broke up rights which had been established, not as a matter of privilege, but by simple ability, commercial efficiency, and an extraordinary development of intellience by Mr. Marconi and the company to which he belonged.

Motion made, and Question proposed, "That this House do now adjourn." (Sir Edward Sassoon.)


said he shared the regret which the hon. Baronet opposite had expressed at the absence of the Postmaster-General, who had made a special study of this subject. It fell to him to send a representative to the Berlin Conference on behalf of the War Office, and, therefore, he had to familiarise himself to some extent with the topic of controversy. That was his excuse for rising to address the House on the policy of the Government in the matter. There was another ground of regret which he had at this Motion coming on at this time, and that was that, unfortunately for the House, the evidence which was taken before the Select Committee had not yet been printed. Notwithstanding these difficulties, he thought the point was a somewhat simple one. The hon. Member for Galway in his interesting speech spoke of this as championing the cause of an Irishman. He would have had more sympathy with that sentiment if it was really Mr. Marconi's cause he was championing. But Mr. Marconi, like other inventors, sold his rights to a powerful company, and it was with a company that controversy was at the present time maintained. That being so he thought questions of sentiment were a little out of place.


thought the right hon. Gentleman was not quite fairly representing the facts. Mr. Marconi was very closely identified with the Marconi Company, and he thought all recognised the fact that the scientific development of Mr. Marconi's work was only possible through the field of experiment which the existence of the company gave.


said that that, no doubt, was perfectly true, but they were dealing, not with an inventor, but with a company, with whom they must deal on commercial lines, and he hoped to put before the House what were the legal rights and the commercial position of the company in relation to the Post Office. The real question before the House was whether the Government, following out the policy of the previous Government and carrying it to completion, had done right in entering into an international Convention, whereby each nation should put into its licences a clause compelling those who obtained those licences to accept messages from other systems. Surely it was more in the interests of humanity, to go no further, that there should be the utmost freedom of inter-communication than that there should be the restrictive system which existed at the present time. Supposing a ship were coming to this side of the Atlantic from the other, and a ship with a different set of instruments was passing, and anything happened, under the Marconi Company's system the shore stations would be prohibited from receiving their messages. It was not a question of bureaucratic pressure. What was the situation in regard to those who made use of wireless telegraphy? Under the law in this, and he should think of every civilised country, the matter was regulated by the State. In this country it was so under the Act of 1904, and it was perfectly reasonable because the Marconi Company from their station could not carry on business unless they could bring their messages up to London, and the Post Office had very properly the power of controlling and of imposing conditions in the licences issued for telegraphic purposes. That being so, the Marconi Company had negotiations with the Post Office some time ago as to the terms of a licence. The position of the Post Office was this. In 1903, he thought it was, various subjects in connection with wireless telegraphy were discussed at a conference held in Berlin, and, among others, this particular subject was reserved for a future Convention. The Post Office took the course of making provision for the possibility of this Convention's being signed. They were then passing the Act of 1904, which gives them control over the licences; at the same time they were negotiating with the Marconi Company for the terms upon which they should carry on the business, and they eventually, in August, 1904, came to an agreement which contained a clause to which he invited the attention of the House, because it disposed once and for ever of the contention that the Marconi Company had a monopoly right which was now being unjustly taken away. The situation was that the Marconi Company were bargaining for what was essential to them, the consent of the Post Office and a licence, and the Post Office had in view the possibility of an international system, and the obligation of communication between different systems. Clause 10 of the agreement of 1904 stated that in the event of His Majesty's Government adhering for the United Kingdom to a Convention, the company undertook to observe in the United Kingdom and on British ships the provisions of Article 6 of the Convention and any detailed regulations there under, and among the regulations was one by which the company undertook to accept the obligation of interchange and communication without assistance or reservation, but without prejudice to their patent rights. But these patent rights were not affected; the broad ground of the agreement was that, notwithstanding the Marconi Company had made stipulations with other people, they bound themselves to give up their rights if the Post Office entered into such a Convention as was now entered into. That removed any contention that any hardship was imposed on the Marconi Company, and the Government were justified in making the agreement in the public advantage. But now the controversy was carried on upon another ground that deserved a few words. The Convention was confined to communication between shore stations and ships, not between ship and ship, or between land station and land station: that communication was untouched. The Admiralty was kept outside, for they did not wish their instruments to be hampered by the obligation to receive other messages; the purpose of the Convention was to make sure that any ship, whatever the system, should be able to communicate with the shore station she was approaching. Was it expedient that that provision should be adopted? In favour of that they had the Admiralty, the Army, the Post Office, the Committee of Imperial Defence, and Lloyd's, all approving of it. They had all the men of science, with the exception of the distinguished gentleman who was the adviser of the Marconi Company and Mr. Marconi himself.


Has the decision of the Defence Committee been come to since the sittings of the Committee upstairs were completed?


said that as far as he knew the decision was previous to the sittings of the Committee.


said there was only one scientific witness before the Committee who was not attached somehow or other to some company.


said Sir Oliver Lodge was surely a witness of authority on such a matter. So far as he knew, the whole body of science was with the Government. It was the Marconi Company, like Athanasius, contra mundum.


said there was no witness on the abstract question of science. The evidence of the scientific witnesses, except in the one case of Charles Bright, was for some company interested.


said he would not put it higher than that there was a considerable body of science in favour of carrying out the Convention as proposed by the Government. Mr. Babington Smith, whose evidence had been referred to, pressed for the expediency of exempting the Admiralty stations in time of war. He was arguing in favour of the Convention. The Canadian standard form of licence was exactly that for which the Government were contending. The Colonial Premiers also took, so far as he knew, exactly the same view as the Imperial Government. To dispose of the matter very shortly, the Government thought it expedient in the interests not only of public convenience, not only of international amenities, but of business, and, for that matter of, humanity, that there should be the freest possible interchange of messages between ships and the stations they came near. They were not asking the House that other nations should control us in this matter. They proposed entering into a Convention which left the control in their own hands. Certain rules, they were all agreed, were workable. The Convention was one from which they could withdraw. All they were aiming at was to get other nations to agree on a system which they might all adopt. The Admiralty were satisfied that this plan would be useful in case of war. The War Office was satisfied that there were great advantages in the system from a military point of view. The Post Office were satisfied, and also the commercial world. And the contrary view was only held by those who claimed for themselves some sort of monopoly right. There was, however, no question of monopoly right here, for he maintained that the Marconi Company contracted themselves out of any monopoly right. The Government had thought this matter out carefully, and had entered into a Convention which they believed to be a good one, and, unless the House carried the Motion, they proposed to proceed forth with to ratify it. It would be interesting to see whether the monopolists would test their strength against the case he had put before the House.

Question put, and negatived.

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