§ 10. Colonel YATE
asked the Financial Secretary to the War Office, as representing the Secretary of State for India, whether a salaried whole-time official of the India Office or of the Government makes the loans to banks and firms from the balances of the Secretary of State without the intervention of any person or persons carrying on any form of financial business in the city; and, if not, will he give the name, or names, and occupation of the individual or firms employed for this purpose?
The answer to the first part of the question is in the negative. The loans are made by the Secretary of State's broker, Mr. Horace H. Scott, member of the firm of Messrs. R. Nivison and Company, stockbrokers. He acts under the supervision of the Accountant-General of the India Office, the Finance Committee of the India Office, and the Secretary of State in Council.
§ 13. Mr. RUPERT GWYNNE
asked by whom and on what date Messrs. Samuel Montagu and Company were informed, prior to any purchases being actually made, that silver to the value of £2,000,000 was likely to be required?
No such information was given to the firm either in writing or orally. The reference to the subject in the firm's letter of 5th July appears to have been made under a misapprehension.
§ 14. Mr. GWYNNE
asked who was the owner on the date of shipment, 10th and 14th September, of the sycee and British dollars, valued at £500,000, referred to in the letter of 16th September from Messrs. Samuel Montagu and Company to the Hong Kong and Shanghai Banking Corporation?
As I stated in reply to the hon. Member on 19th November, it is contrary to custom for buyers of silver to be furnished by the broker with the names of the sellers; and the Secretary of State has never received such information, either when the Bank of England have instructed brokers to buy for him, or when he has instructed the brokers himself. He is not aware of the names in the present case.
§ Mr. GWYNNE
Will the hon. Gentleman say at the exact time who the silver belonged to, as it was stated in the letter of the 16th that the silver was on board and would be delivered at Bombay for the Government?
§ 15. Mr. GWYNNE
asked the Under-Secretary of State for India if the arrangement mentioned in Messrs. Samuel Montagu and Co.'s letter to the India Office on 21st May, by which Samuel Montagu and Co. charged 1–32 of a penny above cash price on £39,000, to compensate themselves for loss of interest, was made verbally; and, if so, when, where, by whom, and with whom was this arrangement made; why, and how long, was payment by the Secretary of State delayed; and will he explain how interest could be due to Samuel Montagu and Co. in their capacity as brokers on 21st May, when the purchase was not made till that day for delivery on 1st June?
After discussion at the Finance Committee of the India Office, the arrangement was made orally between Sir F. Schuster and a representative of Messrs. Samuel Montagu and Company, at the office of the former, on the 20th or 21st of May. Payment was delayed from 22nd May to 1st June in the interest of secrecy, so as to avoid including in May a payment for silver in the India Office monthly accounts, which pass through 2107 many hands, and of which an abstract is published in the "Gazette" of India. The interest was due, and was paid, not on the 21st of May, but on the 1st of June.
§ Mr. GWYNNE
Will the hon. Gentleman say how interest was due on 21st May—because that is what the letter stated—when it was not due until the 1st June, and will the hon. Gentleman also say who represented Messrs. Montagu and Company at the verbal interview?
I fully answered the first supplementary question. If the hon. Member puts down the other question I will answer it.
§ Mr. GWYNNE
If the hon. Gentleman will read the question he will see I ask specifically when, where, and by whom, the arrangements were made?
§ Mr. SPEAKER
If the hon. Member is not satisfied with the answer let him put down a question distinctly raising that single issue, and he will get an answer. It is mixed up in this question with a lot of other matters, and it is quite possible to overlook a single question. If the hon. Member will put down a separate question he will make sure of an answer.
§ 16. Mr. GWYNNE
asked whether any purchases of silver have been made by the India Office since the 24th September?
§ Mr. H. BAKER
It was never intended to grant a monopoly to Messrs. Montagu and Company, and the original reasons for employing them have now ceased to operate.
§ Mr. GEORGE LLOYD
Will the hon. Gentleman state why the India Office should shrink from giving a monopoly in the one case and not in another?