HC Deb 04 June 1907 vol 175 cc483-4

I beg to ask the Prime Minister whether, in consideration of or connection with the guarantee by this country of the new Transvaal Loan of £5,000,000, General Botha, or any one on his behalf, was asked to give, or did give, any undertaking or promise or assurance to His Majesty's Government or to the Colonial Office regarding the repatriation of Chinese coolies from South Africa, or whether such repatriation came under discussion in connection with the guarantee.


The questions of according an Imperial guarantee for a £5,000,000 loan of the Transvaal Government and of the repatriation of the Chinese coolies from the Witwatersrand goldfield have been and will continue to be decided upon their respective merits by His Majesty's Government. No bargain of the kind suggested by the hon. Gentleman was over made. The Transvaal Government remain perfectly free to deal with the repatriation of the Chinese coolies within the limits of the constitution under which they have assumed power; and His Majesty's Government on their part have every intention of most strictly adhering to and enforcing the policy in regard to the termination of Chinese labour in South Africa which has been repeatedly declared to Parliament and which in important particulars is embodied in the Letters Patent. But it is right that I should add that among the reasons which influenced His Majesty's Government in their decision to accord the Imperial guarantee in question to the Transvaal Government was a desire that the credit of that Government should in the early days of its existence be independent of the favour or ill-will of local interests.


May I ask the right hon. Gentleman to reply specifically to the last part of my Question, whether such repatriation came under discussion in connection with the guarantee? And may I ask, further, whether he will inform the House, if he can, the last occasion on which a loan issued by a self-governing Colony was guaranteed by the Imperial Government?


That is plainly a Question of which I should have notice, but I may say that there are several excellent precedents.

SIR F. BANBURY (City of London)

asked the right hon. Gentleman whether he would answer the last part of his hon. friend's Question.


All sorts of matters connected with South Africa formed the subject of discussion with General Botha and Ministers of the Crown during his stay in England, and I have already stated to the House that there was no question of balancing the policy of His Majesty's Government in respect of the loan against the policy of the Transvaal Government in respect of repatriation.

MR. MYER (Lambeth, N.)

Is it not a fact that, in consequence of the granting of the Chinese Ordinance to the South African mine owners, they guaranteed the loan of £30,000,000?


That is a matter which concerns the late Government, and not the present one.