§ 18. Mr. JOYNSON-HICKS
asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies whether he received last year any Report on labour conditions in the New Hebrides; and, if so, whether he will make it public?
I have received no general Report for last year on labour conditions in New Hebrides, but the question is one of those which still engages my most careful attention.
§ 19. Mr. JOYNSON-HICKS
asked the right hon. Gentleman whether Dr. Borgesius, the native advocate appointed under the Condominium Government of the New Hebrides, has complained that he is hampered in every way by the French officials from assisting the natives; whether the French officials have forbidden Dr. Borgesius going outside Vila, the capital, on business connected with. his office, contending that his duties, as set forth by the Convention, do not warrant his assisting natives otherwise than before the Joint Court; whether it is the contention of His Majesty's Government that Article 17 of the Convention was intended to convey that the native advocate is free to assist the natives in any way he can; and, if so, whether the Government will send telegraphic instructions to the British resident Commissioner to that effect?
The subject referred to is one of those which it is hoped may be discussed with the French Government. In order that the issue of that discussion may be as satisfactory as possible I would much prefer not, in anticipation, to enter into details in this House.
§ Mr. JOYNSON-HICKS
Does the right hon. Gentleman realise the extreme gravity of the statements which are coming here with regard to labour conditions in the New Hebrides, and can he give us any idea when these conversations in France are likely to take place or be completed?
I realise the gravity of the reports. I could not give any further information as to when the conversations with France are likely to take place. Any question on that subject should be addressed to my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs.
§ Sir WILLIAM BYLES
May I ask whether it was recently disclosed in evidence in open Court in the New Hebrides that a plantation had changed hands, the assets, including implements, cattle, and thirty-three labourers, the labourers being valued at £50 each; and whether a total of £1,650 was actually paid for these thirty-three men and boys?
§ Mr. ACLAND
Yes, Sir. An answer was given in reply to a private notice question yesterday on that subject. There is no foundation for the anxiety that has been felt in Australia on the subject.