HC Deb 23 July 1912 vol 41 c971

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies whether his attention has been drawn to the fact that at the half-yearly meeting of the British North Borneo Company, held in London on 11th July, the chairman stated that a widespread system of vaccination was to be introduced amongst the natives; under what powers are the company permitted to introduce such a system in the territory in which their operations are conducted; will such a system be compulsory; and, if so, will the Government intervene, in view of the loss to British prestige which will follow even the indirect introduction of compulsory vaccination?

The SECRETARY of STATE for the COLONIES (Mr. Harcourt)

The answer to the first part of the question is in the affirmative. The powers of the company are derived from their charter, which my hon. Friend will find on pages 192–199 of Cd. 3108. They are entitled to administer their territory as an independent State, except as is otherwise provided in the Charter or in the Treaty of Protection. I am not aware whether it is intended that vaccination should be compulsory, but, in any case, I am not prepared to intervene in the matter.