§ MR. HAROLD COX (Preston)
I beg to ask the Under-Secretary of State for the Colonies whether the Government of the Transvaal has accepted the proposal of the Commandant of the Transvaal Volunteers for the reduction of the personnel of the Volunteers from 6,800 to 5,000, with a consequent reduction in the Estimates from £ 202,273 to £ 118,565; and whether it is the intention of His Majesty's Government to make a corresponding reduction in the strength of His Majesty's forces stationed in the Transvaal, so that the burden now upon the taxpayers of the United Kingdom for the maintenance of the Transvaal garrison may be reduced.
§ MR. CHURCHILL
I understand-that certain reductions of expenditure On the Volunteers were contemplated by the late Government in the Transvaal, and, 299 are being effected by the new Ministry. No detailed information has yet been received by the Colonial Office upon the subject, but it is believed that the efficiency of those forces will not be in any degree impaired, and that they will remain of adequate strength. It is not proposed at present to reduce the numbers of the Imperial troops in South Africa. The ultimate withdrawal of that garrison is, of course, the natural and regular consequence of the extension of responsible self-governing institutions, and will be in full accordance with the established colonial policy of this country; but, in view of the many elements of difficulty which the South African situation still presents, immediate action of this kind would be premature. General Botha has also expressed, on behalf of his Government, a desire that the Imperial forces in the Transvaal shall be maintained at proper strength, and has asked that ample notice should be given of any large reductions in order that the white population may not find themselves suddenly left without sufficient means of defence.