HC Deb 17 February 1914 vol 58 cc771-2
62. Mr. TOUCHE

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies whether it is the intention of the Government to review the Charter of the British South Africa Company this year; and, if so, will this review be limited to administrative and public matters?


Article 33 of the Charter reserves certain powers to the Crown to alter the Charter at the end of twenty-five years, but it is expressly provided that the right and power thus reserved shall be exercised only in relation to so much of the Charter as relates to administrative and public matters. I am not prepared at present to make any statement on the subject.


There is no question of the abrogation of the Charter?


I can only repeat my answer. I am not prepared at present to make any statement upon it.


In view of the great importance of this question, will the right hon. Gentleman use his influence with the Prime Minister to enable us to have a day to discuss this matter before the Government come to a decision; and is the right hon. Gentleman aware that the Charter will come up for review in August this year?


Rather later than August.

63. Mr. TOUCHE

asked whether differences have arisen with the British South Africa Company as to the ownership of unalienated lands in Southern Rhodesia; if so, what is the nature of these differences, and by whom and when were they raised, and has the question been, or is about to be, referred to the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council for decision; and is this being done at the instance, or with the concurrence, of the British South Africa Company?


In 1908 the Legislative Council asked for a settlement of the differences between the British South Africa Company and the inhabitants of Southern Rhodesia in regard to the company's claim to be private owners of all unalienated land in Southern Rhodesia and as to what constituted administrative-revenue and expenditure, and the subject has excited interest in Southern Rhodesia, more particularly lately. With regard to the latter part of the question, I am not at present in a position to add anything to my reply to a similar question on 12th February.