§ 61. Major ARCHER-SHEE
asked the Postmaster-General what proportion of the deficit on the working of the Pacific cable for the year ending 31st March, 1913, was paid by the United Kingdom; what was the actual amount of the deficit; and whether he can give the same information for the year ending 31st March, 1914?
§ Mr. MONTAGU
The answer to the first part of the question is five-eighteenths; and to the second, £32,269 17s. 5d. The information for the year ending 31st March, 1914, is not yet available.
§ 62. Major ARCHER-SHEE
asked the Postmaster-General whether his attention has been called to a statement by Senator Pearce, of Australia, that there is an omission in the official records of the last Imperial Conference with reference to the resolution in connection with the laying of a State-owned Atlantic cable, and that the words "near future" mentioned in the resolution on that subject were in reality limited by a declaration of the British Postmaster-General that that was to be construed as a period of twelve months; and, secondly, that it was the intention of the conference that the subsidiary conference mentioned in the resolution should consider the methods to be adopted in laying the cable, and not the question of the advisability of laying it; that it was only upon these two distinct understandings that Senator Pearce withdrew his original resolution; and, if these are the facts, will he say why no subsidiary conference has been called in view of the repeated requests for such action by the Australian and New Zealand Governments?
§ Mr. HOBHOUSE
I observe from the Press that Senator Pearce is said to have made a statement such as that referred to by the hon. Member. I am informed that there was no omission of the kind suggested from the official records of the last Imperial Conference referring to the resolution respecting the laying of a State-owned cable. The interpretation of the words "near future" used in the resolution will be found on page 357 of the Minutes of Proceedings of the conference. The question of calling a subsidiary conference on the subject is at present being discussed with the Commonwealth Government.
§ Mr. HOBHOUSE
I do not think that quite arises out of the question on the Paper. I will consider it.