HC Deb 25 May 1911 vol 26 cc419-20

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether he has in his possession written complaints from each of the steamship lines and companies regularly engaged in the trade between this country and Buenos Ayres as to the congestion at Buenos Ayres; whether he has seen articles which have appeared from time to time in the Buenos Ayres newspaper "La Prensa," and also in the "Times of Argentina," fully justifying the complaints made by steamship owners and companies engaged in the trade; whether he has received communications from the British Minister or Consul at Buenos Ayres in connection with this congestion; if the Foreign Office made friendly representations to the Argentine Government on the matter of congestion; if so, whether these representations were received in a most friendly spirit by the Argentine Government; whether he is aware that the German Minister or Consul at Buenos Ayres communicated with his Government at Berlin on the matter of the congestion of the port and injury to German interests; if he is aware that the German Government made friendly representations to the Argentine Government on this matter, which representations were received, by the Argentine Government also in the most friendly manner; and whether he can state if greater facilities will shortly be afforded at Buenos Ayres for the more rapid handling of cargo and despatch of ships?


I have received from the hon. Member copies of letters written to him by, I believe, all the principal lines referred to, and complaining of the congestion at Buenos Ayres; and also cuttings from the newspapers mentioned. The British Chargé d'Affaires has brought these facts in a friendly and unofficial manner under the notice of the Argentine Minister for Foreign Affairs. I have not heard from Buenos Ayres of any action on the part of the German Minister or Government in the matter. I understand that the Argentine authorities, with whom alone the matter rests as a question of internal administration, are impressed by the facts brought to their notice, and are taking steps in the common interest of international trade to effect improvements.


I would like to thank the right hon. Gentleman for his courtesy, and to congratulate him upon the success of his efforts. I can assure him—


This is not the time for compliments.