§ MR. HAVELOCK WILSON (Middlesbrough)
I beg to ask the President of the Board of Trade whether he will cause instructions to be issued to the officers of the Board of Trade to prevent Chinese boarding-house keepers from having access to Board of Trade premises for the purpose of supplying crews of Chinamen to British ships; whether he is aware that it has been the practice for many years to prevent British seamen and others from using the waiting-rooms of Mercantile Marine Offices unless they can produce certificates of discharges to prove that they are bona fide seamen; and whether he will cause this rule to be stringently applied to Chinamen in the same manner that it is applied to other seamen.
§ MR. CHURCHILL
Chinese boarding-house keepers are not and will not be allowed access to the Board of Trade premises for the purpose of supplying crews of Chinamen. Any case in which sufficient evidence is available of a boarding-house keeper having supplied 1135 a crew, Chinese or otherwise, would be considered with the view to legal proceedings being taken under Sections 111 or 112 of the Merchant Shipping Act, 1894. I have no knowledge of the practice referred to in the second part of my hon. friend's Question. The waiting-rooms of Mercantile Marine Offices are open to all persons desiring to obtain employment on board merchant ships whether they produce certificates of discharge or not. Loafers or undesirable persons are of course liable to be excluded.
§ MR. CROOKS (Woolwich)
This reply is very important. Will the right hon. Gentleman have it put in all the shipping offices?