HC Deb 31 July 1912 vol 41 cc2041-2
44. Mr. KING

asked the President of the Board of Trade whether he has been made aware that Mr. Arana, a Peruvian subject, sold his rubber business on the Putumayo to a British company, and that this business was carried on by criminal methods, including the treatment of natives by methods of slavery; and whether he will insist on adequate inquiries and guarantees in the case of the registration of British companies promoted to obtain and work foreign businesses and concessions, so as to prevent the recurrence of such events, which seriously compromise the commercial integrity of this country?


The Board of Trade can only act in accordance with the powers conferred upon them by the Companies (Consolidation) Act, 1908, and that Act does not enable them to conduct inquiries or require guarantees on the registration of a company promoted to obtain and work foreign businesses and concessions.


In view of recent disclosures, will the right hon. Gentleman consider the advisability of applying for such powers as will enable him to make inquiries into companies of this kind in foreign countries?


I will consider the matter. I shall be very glad to confer with my hon. Friend.