HC Deb 04 May 1908 vol 187 c1619
MR. BELLAIRS (Lynn Regis)

To ask the Under-Secretary of State for the Colonies whether the estimated loss to the British taxpayer of £62,590 on the Pacific cable for 1908–9 is mainly due to the faulty route selected to the barren rock called Fanning Island; and whether it is practicable, and, if so, will the question be considered in conjunction with the Colonial Governments, to under-run and relay the cables to the shipping port of Honolulu, where the American cables land, so as to benefit British shipping, afford alternative routes by the American cables, and gain a fresh route to the Far East.

(Answered by Colonel Seely.) The estimated loss on the Pacific cable for the year 1908–9 is £69,000, of which only five-eighteenths, or under £14,000, will fall on the British taxpayer. The route via Fanning Island was adopted in accordance with the desire of the Colonial Governments concerned that the route should touch only British territory. In the absence of any suggestion from those Governments, His Majesty's Government do not propose to consider the question of relaying the line so as to touch at Honolulu.