§ MR. BOWLES (Lambeth, Norwood)
I beg to ask the Under-Secretary of State for the Colonies whether he is aware that the directors of the British East Africa Corporation, Limited, state, in a prospectus issued to the public in February last, that they will operate an annual grant of £1,000 from the British East Africa Government, that they will work lands specially conceded by the Government, that the British Cotton Growing Association has subscribed for 10,000 shares at par in the capital of their 951 company, and that their general manager in East Africa is Major E. H. M. Leggett, D.S.O., R.E.; whether this Major Leggett is a Government official; and whether the House will have an opportunity of considering these Government grants of money and lands to a private company.
§ THE UNDER-SECRETARY OF STATE FOR THE COLONIES (Mr. CHURCHILL,) Manchester, N.W.
The Secretary of State has seen the prospectus to which the hon. Member refers. As I explained on the 8th inst. in my reply to the question of the hon. Member for Rye, the British East Africa Corporation is merely employed by the British Cotton Growing Association to carry out the experimental work which the Assocition has undertaken to do for the Government under stringent conditions, in consideration of a grant of £1,000 per annum for three years from the funds of the East Africa Protectorate. Major Leggett is a Royal Engineer officer of special attainments whose services have been lent to the Corporation, at the request of the British Cotton Growing Association, for three years, during which period he will draw no pay from public funds. The grant of money to the British Cotton Growing Association and of land to the Corporation can be discussed on the Vote for Colonial Services, which includes a grant in aid of the revenue of the East Africa Protectorate.
§ MR. BOWLES
Am I to understand that the statements in this prospectus that the British East Africa Corporation themselves operate a Government grant of £1,000 a year and lands specially conceded to them by the Government are inaccurate?
§ MR. CHURCHILL
Yes; our dealings are with the British Cotton Growing Association, which we are endeavouring to further in all parts of the British Empire. So far as the East Africa Corporation are concerned, they are only concerned indirectly and through the British Cotton Growing Association.
§ MR. BOWLES
If the Government grant of £1,000 granted to one body for experimental purposes is being used by another body, which is a private company, for its own purposes, will the right hon. 952 gentleman reconsider the circumstances under which that grant was made?
§ MR. CHURCHILL
No; I think the grant is being applied so as to give the greatest possible effect to the purposes to which we, after much consideration, devoted the money.