HC Deb 30 March 1909 vol 3 cc170-1

Will the right hon. Gentleman state whether he has any official information showing that an arrangement had been made between the Government of the Transvaal and that of Mozambique, Portuguese East Africa, whereby British-Indians domiciled in the Transvaal, and possessing certificates of domicile, are to be expelled from that Colony, for refusal to register under the registration laws, into Portuguese territory, and to be detained and eventually shipped to India by the Portuguese authorities; if so, will he say whether there was any precedent for such treatment of British subjects, and what action His Majesty's Government propose to take?

Colonel SEELY

The Transvaal Government have assured the Secretary of State? that the Indians who were deported after trial in the Courts were sent to the territories from which it was supposed that they had originally entered the Transvaal. Owing to representations made by the neighbouring administrations of Natal and Mozambique, the Transvaal Government had decided that all Asiatics ordered by magistrates to be deported shall be sent at the expense of the Transvaal Government to their country of birth unless they produce satisfactory proof that they are domiciled in some part of South Africa outside the Transvaal, in which case they will be deported to their particular territory of domicile. I understand that the Portuguese authorities act under their general immigration Regulations, which apply equally to white and to coloured persons. In these circumstances, it does not appear that any hardship is being suffered by any Indian excepting by those who decline to comply with the terms on which alone they are permitted to live in the Transvaal and the provision of a return passage to the country of origin appears to be a more humane method of treatment than merely expelling them would be. I must remind my hon. Friend that deportations of British subjects are not unprecedented. If any case of real hardship is brought to the notice of the Secretary of State he will be happy to make representations to the Transvaal Government.