HC Deb 30 June 1909 vol 7 cc373-4

asked the Under-Secretary of State for the Colonies if he will state under what agreement the Pacific Islands Company (now Pacific Phosphate Company) became bound to pay the Imperial Exchequer 6d. per ton royalty on all the guano phosphates exported from Ocean Island in and after the year 1906; also the date on which this agreement was signed, and who were the signatories thereto?

Colonel SEELY

A licence to occupy Ocean Island generally on the terms mentioned by my hon. Friend was granted to the Pacific Islands Company on 13th August, 1901. The licence was signed by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for West Birmingham, then Secretary of State for the Colonies, on behalf of the Crown, and by Lord Stanmore and the late Mr. Ebenezer Cayford, directors, and Mr. E. Benbigh, acting secretary, on behalf of the company. This licence was, however, surrendered, and the one at present in force issued to the Pacific Phosphate Company on 31st December, 1902. The signatories to the latter were the right hon. Gentleman the Member for the St. Augustine's Division of Kent (in the absence in South Africa of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for West Birmingham) on behalf of the Crown; Lord Stanmore and Mr. E. A. Levy, directors; and Mr. A. J. Reeves, secretary, on behalf of the company. I may explain that this second licence, the one now in force, made no alteration in the pecuniary conditions of the earlier licence.


Is the Company possessed of personalty? Is it registered in London?

Colonel SEELY

I do not know. I think it would be easy to find out who they are.


Is he aware that great injury to public interests was done under this licence, and the monetary consideration was ludicrously insufficient.

Colonel SEELY

I do not know about that; it all happened a very long time ago.