HC Deb 04 February 1913 vol 47 cc1986-7
55. Mr. TOUCHE

asked the Secretary for the Colonies whether Messrs. Lever Brothers, Limited, or any associated firm, have applied for concessions in any Colonies other than Sierra Leone, Southern Nigeria, and the Gold Coast Colony?


Levers Pacific Plantations, Limited, were granted by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for West Birmingham, a lease of ten islands in the Pacific in 1902, in succession to the Pacific Islands Company, but in 1911 three of these islands were transferred to another company. Levers Pacific Plantations, Limited, were also granted leases of land (about 12,000 acres, in the Solomons Islands Protectorate in 1905; in the same year the Secretary of State the right hon. Gentleman the Member for St. George's, Hanover Square, was prepared to agree to the transfer of 190,000 acres of land in the same Protectorate, which had previously been leased to the Pacific Islands Company, Limited, in which Messrs. Lever were interested, to a syndicate in which Mr. Lever was to have had the controlling interest. The negotiations were concluded with Levers Pacific Plantations, Limited, by the end of 1906.


Does the right hon. Gentleman take into consideration the previous holdings or monopolies which any firm has had before; does he take that into consideration when granting them further monopolies?


I take into consideration the answer to the question which is on the Paper.


Before making those further grants does he take into consideration the fact that the same firm has already obtained large concessions or grants?


I took into consideration all the grants made to Messrs. Lever Brothers by right hon. Gentlemen opposite.


Are we to understand that continuity of policy is always followed by the right hon. Gentleman in regard to Colonial matters?


No, Sir; there has been some limitation of area since the change of Government.


If Messrs. Lever Brothers had been supporting the Unionist party would those questions have been asked?


Do I understand the answer of the right hon. Gentleman is in reply to the inquiry as to whether the firm has applied for further concessions in other Colonies; do I understand that they have applied for any beyond those which have been enumerated?


I think not. I think the answer is exactly in accordance with the question put to me.

56. Mr. TOUCHE

asked the Secretary for the Colonies if, for the convenience and information of Members of the House, he will give a summary, free from the complexities of a correspondence extending from 6th July, 1908, to 18th December, 1912, setting forth all the concessions and privileges in any Colony or Protectorate in West Africa asked for by Messrs. Lever Brothers, Limited, or any associated firm or firms, distinguishing those granted in whole or part, those under consideration, and those withdrawn or refused?


I would draw the hon. Member's attention to the Table of Contents prefixed to the printed correspondence, which contains a précis of each letter. I do not think any further summary is required.


Is there any special reason for keeping this veil of obscurity over these transactions?


The veil of obscurity is represented by the publication of the whole of the correspondence.

Forward to