§ Motion made, and Question proposed, "That a sum, not exceeding £19,905, be granted to His Majesty, to defray the Charge which will come in course of payment during the year ending on the 31st day of March, 1914, for making good the Net Loss on Transactions connected with the raising of Money for the various Treasury Chests Abroad in the year 1912–13."
§ Mr. MILLS
I have one or two questions which I should like to put to the right hon. Gentleman in connection with this deficit of £19,905. First of all, I would like some explanation of the item of £170,000 under the head of a loan to the Persian Government. I understand that this large sum has accumulated by various payments since February, 1912, when £50,000 was paid out of the Treasury Chest Fund to the Persian Government. I am quite aware that the Act of 1877 authorises the Treasury Chest Commissioners to make advances out of the funds in their possession, temporary advances for public purposes. There are two points to which I would like to draw the attention of the hon. Gentleman. First of all, I think that it is rather doubtful whether a Persian Loan can be called a public purpose, and, moreover, whether we can call a temporary advance a series of advances which have extended over two years.
I am only asking for information, but it seems to me very important that we should know whether this loan to the Persian Government has been definitely authorised by a Vote in this House. I understand that the money is going to be repaid this year, but if the principle of lending this money to the Persian Government has not been previously voted, when the House is asked to repay this money to the Treasury Chest Fund, they will, in fact, be asked to pay a debt which they have already contracted; and it will not, therefore, be in their power to come to a proper decision on the matter, and it will not be in their power to say they think that it was wrongly granted. I should like an explanation of this, because it seems to me that there is a certain danger that this Treasury Chest Fund, which is, after all, mainly intended to be the medium of paying our forces, our soldiers and sailors, our dockyard people, and so forth in the various foreign stations is going to be used as a sort of nest egg from which hardup Chancellors of the Exchequer can take 2084 various small sums to put right various Estimates. There is another item of rather a similar sort which seems to me rather curious, and that is an item of £44,000, Royal Irish Constabulary pensions. There is no doubt good reason for this, but it does not seem to me that the Royal Irish Constabulary are a foreign service, and I do not see why they should be paid out of a fund which is generally employed in paying people m our foreign stations.
With regard to the two points which the hon. Member has raised, I cannot at present see where those figures come in.
§ Sir F. BANBURY
It is Command Paper 90, printed by order of the House of Commons on the 12th of this month, and it is an account showing all the sums received into the Treasury Chests and paid out of the same between 1st April, 1912, and 31st March, 1913, and the liabilities and assets on the latter date. It shows the actual movements of the fund. The amount on the paper is only just a small amount, and is the balance on the debit side. This shows the whole method in which the money has been spent, and it shows the money received. This is a new service, and as it is the first time that it has been discussed, I submit that my hon. Friend is in order.
I am informed that those figures are taken from a White Paper. It seems to me that the hon. Member is in Order in asking questions, but I do not think he would be in Order in raising the question of the merits of particular expenditure, because that, no doubt, will require the confirmation of the House. He is quite in Order as far as he puts the question as to whether it is justifiable to use the Fund for these purposes.
May we not discuss the merits of the loan to Persia? It is treated as an asset in this account, and you cannot get at the balance shown on this Paper except by treating that as an asset, and there maybe observations on that point.
As I understand the matter, it is bound to come before the House in a direct form, and I think the proper course would be to discuss now 2085 whether it is justifiable to use the Treasury Chest Fund in this manner, and then take the merits of the question when we are asked for the actual payment.
The debit balance which we are now asked to vote would be greater if the £170,000 which is treated as an asset in the account was not in fact worth £170,000, but was only worth some smaller sum, and I submit to you that it would be in order to discuss the value of that loan.
The general rule of the Committee will apply in this case, the rule that where there is a specific opportunity given for raising particular points that is the place to raise them; but it is clearly correct to say, this being the only occasion, that the method of its management is open to discussion.
I understand, and I will ask the Secretary to the Treasury if it is not the case, that the amount will have to be voted in the main Estimate of the year in a specific form.
§ The FINANCIAL SECRETARY to the TREASURY (Mr. Montagu)
Yes, it will appear in the Estimates for 1914–15 as a Vote to the Foreign Office to be repaid to the Treasury Chest Fund.
I think that really answers the question. At any rate as far as we have now got, we are dealing with the question whether it is justifiable or not to use the Treasury Chest Fund in this way, and I think that is in order.
§ Mr. MILLS
I do not propose to discuss the rights or wrongs of the question of lending money to Persia. I was only trying to draw the attention of the Committee to the fact that this loan to Persia has been running for two years, and Parliamentary sanction to the loan will have to be granted some time this year. That seems a rather grave scandal, as it takes from this House its proper control over Foreign Office policy, and, in addition to that, by taking this sum from the Treasury Chests, it creates a grave dislocation of the book-keeping arrangements of the fund. It is, further, directly responsible for this debit balance for which we are asked to 2086 vote a Supplementary Estimate. It would have been a surplus had it not been for this item. I think the item for pensions for the Royal Irish Constabulary comes under the same criticism. These pensions have no doubt to be paid, and rightly so, but that is not the point I am discussing. This fund was not started either to make loans to Persia or to pay pensions to the Royal Irish Constabulary. It seems to have been a practice which has been going on for some time. There was originally a loan from the Treasury Chest of £155; £143 of that was repaid—I suppose by the Chief Secretary for Ireland. But then a further sum of about £30 was borrowed, so that, at present, the Treasury Chest Fund shows an asset of £44 15s. 6d., which has been advanced to the Government for the pensions of the Royal Irish Constabulary. It seems to me that that is an irregular practice. It is using money from this fund for purposes for which it was never intended. As far as I am aware, there is a fund for Civil Contingencies which has been created for matters of this sort, and that is the proper fund from which this deficit should be put right.
It is said in a note by the Controller and Auditor-General that the chief reason for this deficit, which we are asked to meet to-night, is to be found in transactions on the part of the Treasury Chest in Hong Kong. It seems that a, rather extraordinary financial state has arisen at Hong Kong, and that we lost a very large sum last year — about £40,000–a rather smaller sum the year before,, and £23,000 this year, simply on exchange operations which the Treasury undertakes in Hong Kong, and they seek to reimburse themselves in this way. The loss is incurred in providing Mexican dollars with which to pay the troops. I understand the difficulty is that the price of silver on which these Mexican dollars are based fluctuates considerably. The Government find that they cannot pay the troops at the current rate of exchange, because the men would never know what their pay is going to be from day to day. Therefore they fix the price of the dollar on the average of the preceding quarter, and they pay the troops on that fictitious average. I suggest it shows very unbusinesslike management of the exchange transaction if they cannot manage to sell their sterling exchange at a better rate than they do at present, a rate which produces every year a loss. It is not perhaps for me to suggest a remedy, 2087 but I ask the hon. Gentleman to consider whether it would not meet this difficulty if we went as far as we could to copy the example of India, and standardised the price of the Mexican dollar in the way in which we standardise the price of the Indian rupee? We might take the average price for a longer period than three months and we might take a low average for the price of silver, in order that, on the exchange of silver, the seller would get as many dollars as possible for his sovereign. If you had it spread over a longer time there would be less excuse for the Treasury Chest Commissioner in Hong Kong to make these very bad blunders in reimbursing himself out there. I am sure the hon. Gentleman will agree with me that if you are carrying on exchange operations in a foreign country, as many people do for their own profit, and were, without any office expenses to make on these transactions a loss of 2¼ per cent., if it were not that the whole strength and prestige of the British Treasury were behind this fund and those who administer it out there, he would soon find himself in the Bankruptcy Court. I should like also to allude to the position of Malta. It is clearly set out in the White Paper that a large loss was made in Hong Kong by the discount of bills and telegraph transfers. Malta has about the same amount to pay out during the year. I know the exchange situation is not so difficult in Malta as it is in Hong Kong, but I think it is only right that the result of the operations there should be set out in this Paper so that we can see whether they have made a profit or a loss which has helped to swell the heavy deficit we are being asked to face this evening. I shall be very glad if the hon. Gentleman will answer these questions, and especially if he will throw some light on the question of the Persian loan, which seems to me to be an extremely irregular matter, and one that fully merits the earnest attention of this Committee.
§ Mr. MONTAGU
I should like to answer the questions the hon. Gentleman has put to me at once. The Act of Parliament upon which this Treasury Chest Fund was founded—the Treasury Trust Fund Act, 1887–makes it permissible to make temporary advances for any public service, to be repaid to the Treasury Chest Fund out of money appropriated by Parliament for the same service or out of other money 2088 applicable thereto. It was under that Section — Section 3 of the Treasury Chest Fund Act, 1887–that this advance was made to the Foreign Office for the purpose of making a loan to the Persian Government. The hon. Member will know, if he has studied the question, that there are any number of precedents for this sort of loan for matters of high policy. No inconvenience has been caused to the Treasury Chest Fund. It is the intention to abide strictly by the terms of the Act, and, as no final charge can be made on the Treasury Chest Fund, to ask Parliament to appropriate a sum to reimburse the Treasury Chest Fund for this temporary advance, which will be included in the Foreign Office Votes which will be presented for 1914–15. There is no statutory necessity to reimburse the Treasury Chest Fund in the same financial year as the liability is incurred. There are several precedents for that. There was a loan to Crete in the autumn of 1901. That was not repaid till the next financial year. There was in 1891 a loan of £8,000 to the Oil River Protectorate, which was repaid in 1893. The hon. Member is entitled to ask what was the point of waiting so long, and the answer to that is that there was no inconvenience being suffered by the Treasury Chest Fund or its operations for the temporary loss of his money, and we were assured that it was possible that Persia would be negotiating a large loan out of the proceeds, and which it would be repaid without making it necessary to come to Parliament at all. It was considered by the Treasury that it might be inexpedient to wait much longer, and therefore they proceeded, rather than wait any longer, to ask Parliament in the terms of the Act to appropriate this sum in the Foreign Office Votes of next year. I would also remind the Committee that the sum of £50,000 advanced to Persia appeared in these accounts for 1911–12. There was a Debate on the subject of the Treasury Chest Fund, and although some very trenchant criticism was made by the hon. Member for Down on the subject of loans and as to some charges which ought to have been, in his opinion, met out of the Civil Contingencies Fund, no one drew attention to the Loan to Persia, nor did the Controller and Auditor-General make any remark upon it in the Note that he presents to the House.
With regard to the Royal Irish Constabulary, I suspect the hon. Member 2089 sees here that we have been giving a subvention to Ireland in a disguised and very wrong form. It is a very simple matter. There are certain pensioners of the Royal Irish Constabulary living abroad, and simply for convenience in this case the money has been paid by the money voted by Parliament into the Treasury Chest Fund, and paid wherever the pensioner may happen to be, so that he can get the money where he resides. With regard to the Hong Kong loss, it originated in 1888, with a view to letting the soldiers and sailors in Hong Kong know more or less the sort of pay they were going to get, and it has occasioned a loss to the Treasury year after year, at any rate, recently, with very few exceptions. It was pointed out last year by the hon. Member for Down, and as a consequence of his activity, a Departmental Committee of the. Treasury was appointed which investigated this case, and I think the Treasury owes to the Members of that Committee very great thanks, for they investigated the matter with great care. I am surprised that the hon. Member (Mr. Mills) does not seem to have read the Report. It was published as a White Paper. All its recommendations have been adopted by the Treasury. A Minute has been issued authorising the procedure which they recommend. The practice, which has existed since 1888, ceased on 1st January, 1914, and now, by fixing the rate of exchange for a month, or the telegraphic transfer, rather than on the price of the Mexican dollar a quarter previously, it is hoped that the loss will be very largely obviated in the future, for a fixed rate for a month even must be a slight loss. I think I have answered all questions, and I suggest that there is nothing exceptional in this Vote.
I am sorry I cannot agree with the Secretary to the Treasury that there is nothing exceptional in this Vote. There is a great deal more in it than meets the eye. First let me examine the somewhat extraordinary argument advanced by the Secretary to the Treasury. He said in effect that in a previous Supplementary Estimate there was a sum of £50,000 as an advance to Persia, and because my vigilant Friend the hon. Member of Down did not happen to see it, and the Auditor-General did not happen to see it, the precedent was established that the Treasury Chest Fund might be used for the purpose of other 2090 advances to Persia. That seems to me a most extraordinary doctrine which I cannot think has any justification in fact. There is much more in the Vote than appears, because when I asked the Secretary to the Treasury for the date when these advances were made, something emerged from him. The first Loan of £50,000 was made on 9th February, 1912. I believe I am right in saying that the first statement made in this House at all by the Foreign Minister was on 25th March, 1913.
§ Mr. MONTAGU
No. A statement was made on 21st February, 1912, and it appears in the OFFICIAL REPORT of that date in column 678.
Perhaps the hon. Gentleman will tell me if the Foreign Secretary intimated that he was going to make the loan from the Treasury Chest Fund. It is true that the Foreign Secretary said on 25th March, 1913, that certain loans were going to be made, and also that we were going to aid in the strengthening of the gendarmerie. If hon. Members will look at the public information which was given, all they will find is that a loan of £120,000 has been made during this year. No dates were attached to it, and in the assets statement there is an outstanding loan of £50,000 taken credit for as an asset, and if you add the two together you get £170,000. But there is no information whatever of the times when the various sums were advanced, and it was not until I asked the Secretary to the Treasury that I found out that at different dates advances had been made which make a total of £220,000.
§ The UNDER-SECRETARY Of STATE for FOREIGN AFFAIRS (Mr. Acland)
There is a White Paper in which the hon. Member would find all the dates.
I do not say that I have been digging about for the information. It is impossible from the Supplementary Estimate now before us to get the information. What the hon. Gentleman has done is that he has convicted his colleague of not giving sufficient information to the House of Commons, because he has now told the House that there is a White Paper in existence which would have saved hon. Members an immense amount of trouble if they had referred to it. The hon. Member has helped the Committee by his intervention, and I think he has proved that his colleague has 2091 been negligent in the matter. I would ask the Secretary to the Treasury whether in fact this £50,000 was advanced on the date stated? I wish to know, also, on what account, and on what authority, it was advanced? We know that it has never been authorised by a formal Vote of the House. It has been taken out of the Treasury Chest Fund without any Vote of the House of Commons. Apart from Votes, has any information been given to the House of Commons, and has any warning been given that the Government were going to advance this sum. Has the hon. Gentleman had any advice from the Law Officers, or anybody else, that the course which has been pursued in taking this money out of the Treasury Chest Fund is in accordance with the provisions of the Act? Is this a public service? Is an unauthorised loan to Persia a public service? I think it is not. It is not a public service at least within the meaning of the Treasury Chest Fund Act. Did Parliament, when it passed that Act, ever contemplate that there was going to be a loan to Persia? Assuming that it was a public service, has it even then been dealt with in accordance with the Act? The hon. Gentleman did not read this addition to Section 3:—No expenditure whatever shall be finally defrayed out of, or payments charged on, the Treasury Chest Fund.The first part of this loan was made on the 9th February, 1912. After that date there was a Supplementary Estimate of the Treasury Chest Fund. It was not included. After, that, again, there were the permanent Estimates of the year, and it was not included. Again there was a Supplementary Estimate, and the Treasury have avoided giving notice to the House on two occasions on which they might have done so, and they have avoided taking a Vote when they might have done it. If the Treasury Chest Fund, which has £700,000 capital, can be used in this way, the whole of the finance of the country can be disorganised. Any year when they are short they can simply go to the Treasury Chest Fund and take £500,000 from it. They can postpone a Vote, and therefore, in any year before a General Election, can throw upon the succeeding Government the necessity of repaying the debts which have been incurred. I am not by any means sure that that is not what they have done on this occasion. There are £220,000 outstanding loans to 2092 Persia. That is not included in the Supplementary Estimates. There are no Supplementary Estimates for the Foreign Office to repay to the Treasury Chest Fund—the £220,000. If there were, the finances of this year would be worse to that extent. It is common knowledge that there is going to be a considerable deficit this year, and I can quite understand the Chancellor of the Exchequer shying at increasing that deficit by £220,000. But that is not fair, and is not in accordance with the principle upon which our finances are conducted. It is a serious matter. The hon. Gentleman, answering the question which I put to him, said:—Provision for the repayment of these sums to the Treasury Chest Fund will be included in the Civil Service Estimates, 1914–15, about to be presented.But why not now? Why is not this year paying the expenses of the year, and why are they casting those expenses upon their successors?
§ Sir F. BANBURY
The hon. Gentleman who read from the Act of Parliament omitted a point which seemed to be of very great importance. Section 3 of the Act says that the Treasury may draw on the Treasury Chest Fund in making temporary advances for any public service, to be repaid to the Treasury Fund out of money appropriated by Parliament to such service. If English words have any meaning, that means that certain sums of money can be advanced for public services provided that on the first opportunity they are repaid by an Estimate presented to Parliament. That seems to me to be absolutely clear. I turn to the Report of the Comptroller and Auditor General, dated 12th February, 1914, which says:—An advance of £120,000 to be repaid out of the Vote of Parliament has been made during the year on account of the loan to the Persian Government. That is in addition to the sum of £50,000 advanced for a similar purpose in 1911–12. No Vote for the payment of those advances has yet been takenMy contention is that an advance made in 1911–12 cannot be considered a temporary advance out of the Treasury Chest Fund, and, therefore, a Vote of this House ought to have been taken. As a Vote of this House has not been taken, that advance has been illegally made. I have something else. The Treasury Chest Fund may be used "in making a temporary advance for any public service." Public service means something "for the benefit, advantage, or carrying on of certain servants relating to the Empire." Persia has 2093 not yet taken the place of Ireland as part of the Empire, and I fail to see how "public service" can be described as advancing money to the Foreign Office to lend to Persia. There is no doubt as to what "public service" means. There is a definition Clause in the Act:—The expression 'service' includes Colonial service.That does not include Persia, which is not yet a colony of this country. Therefore, I advance two propositions—one, that the £50,000 advance out of the Treasury Chest Fund in 1911–12 is an illegal advance, because no Vote has been taken to repay that sum. Under the Act only temporary advances can be made, and they are to be paid out of a Vote of Parliament. The second is that "public service" may mean a Colonial service, but it cannot possibly mean a Persian service. Under these circumstances I shall certainly divide, because I believe the advance to be illegal.
§ Mr. BUTCHER
In reference to the Act, the words "public service," as the hon. and learned Solicitor - General knows, has been considered very lately by a Select Committee of this House, and also by the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council in the case of the hon. Member for White-chapel. It was strenuously argued in that case, on behalf of the hon. Member for Whitechapel, that the words "public service" could only be used in respect of a public service in the United Kingdom. The Judicial Committee decided that they could extend to a public service in India, and it is clear, under this Act, that they would extend to the Colonies. What I do not know is this: Could it by any perversion of language be extended to mean a loan to a foreign country? This is a matter in which hon. Gentlemen ought to get a direct Vote of this House, and where you rely upon the legality of this loan in connection with the Treasury Chest Fund, you ought to look at the words of this Act and nothing else. I should like to ask the Secretary to the Treasury has he obtained the advice of the Law Officers on this matter? In his speech he sought to justify this apparently exceedingly irregular and illegal proceeding by referring to some other cases where matters of this nature appear to have got through the House without discussion. One would like to know has this question ever been raised in the House before, and has it been decided by the Law Officers of the Crown? I am glad to see the 2094 Solicitor-General present, and I hope he will be able to tell us whether in this Act the words "public service" would include such a transaction as lending money, to a foreign Government on loan. It would be an exceedingly dangerous thing if we were so to extend it. It is contrary to the words and clearly contrary to public policy. Unless he can persuade us that the words "public service" mean to authorise the lending of money to a foreign country, then this Vote is absolutely illegal. If it were not for the lending of the money to Persia there would have been no deficiency in the Treasury Chest, and it is only because the loan has been made under colour of this Act that we are asked to vote this £19,000. I trust the hon. and learned Gentleman will give us some authority.
§ Sir ROBERT FINLAY
There are a few points I invite the Government to deal with, and I am glad to see my hon. Friend the Solicitor-General here. The first is this: Under the Act there is a Section which defines what "public service" means—The expression 'public service' includes Colonial service.Could anything more clearly imply that foreign Powers are excluded? I invite some explanation as to how, by any possibility, a loan of this description to a foreign country has been brought within those words. The second question I wish to ask is this: Another Section of the Act provides that—The Treasury may employ the Treasury Chest Fund in making temporary advances for any public service.Suppose they could bring Persia within the definition and extension to the Colonies, then, by any possibility, how could they make out that this is a temporary advance? It is perfectly clear that the duties to which the Treasury Chest may be put were to be temporary in their nature. I do put it to the Government that there has been some extraordinary mistake in this matter, and that, in the first place, the Treasury Chest has been used for a purpose for which it was never intended it should be used, and, secondly, that the loan made has not been of a temporary nature at all.
§ The SOLICITOR - GENERAL (Sir Stanley Buckmaster)
I should be glad indeed if any words of mine could allay 2095 the anxiety of the hon. Baronet the Member for the City of London (Sir F. Banbury). I think, notwithstanding the criticism to which this Section has been subjected, that its meaning is reasonably plain. In the first place, there is no doubt that the objects for which the funds are to be employed are temporary purposes. All that means is that the money is not to be permanently employed. I should have thought that that was so obvious that hon. Members opposite would hardly have challenged that this money is for a temporary purpose. Surely a loan is, in its very nature, a temporary purpose. [HON. MEMBERS: "Oh!"] Hon. Members opposite do not encourage one to lend money to them if, when it has been lent for a temporary purpose, one is to be told the loan is permanent and will never be repaid. The next question is whether or not it is for the public service. I think that all the hon. Members who have criticised this Statute have made a great mistake in suggesting that the Statute contains any definition Section. It does not.
§ Sir S. BUCKMASTER
It does not. It merely states that the phrase "public service" shall include one particular service. That is not a definition. [An HON. MEMBERS: "It is called a definition."] The suggestion is that it means nothing else—that it means only a Colonial service. It is quite obvious that that is not so. The whole point is that "public service" shall receive a construction there which in some Statutes it does not receive, and include Colonial service as well as the public service of the United Kingdom.
§ Lord HUGH CECIL
Of course, if the learned Solicitor-General will not give way, I cannot ask a very necessary question.
§ Lord HUGH CECIL
Will the learned Solicitor-General answer it? Can the hon. and learned Gentleman mention a single Statute in which "public service" is so defined as to include Persia or any other foreign country?
§ Sir S. BUCKMASTER
It is quite obvious that that can have nothing to do with what I am saying, which is that the inclusion of "Colonial service" here was for the purpose of making "public service" extend to something to which without these words it would have no application. No better illustration of that could be found than in the case to which the hon. and learned Member for York referred—the case discussed before the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council last year. The "public service" here is the public service of the United Kingdom. [HON. MEMBERS: "No."] I shall be glad to know why it is suggested that the application of money to the Foreign Office is not on behalf of the public service of the United Kingdom. This money was advanced to the Foreign Office and used by them for the public purposes of this Kingdom, for the purpose of smoothing the trade routes and making commerce easier with Persia. If that is not a public service of this Kingdom, it is hard to know what is. I cannot help thinking that this matter has been the subject of consideration before, and I am not satisfied that it was not considered at a time when the right hon. Gentleman opposite (Sir K. Finlay) was Attorney General. I speak with some hesitation. Possibly the right hon. Gentleman's memory will enable him to recollect the circumstances, and he will be able to tell us whether a similar question was not raised in regard to the advance of money to Crete while he held—
§ Sir S. BUCKMASTER
I do not know whether it is intended by that to suggest that Crete is a Colony. In 1896, it was in terms asked of the Chancellor of the Exchequer, when payments had been made for the expedition to Suakin of Indian troops. He was then asked whether it was proposed to submit to the House a Vote to repay to the Treasury Chests any sum that might have been expended in the expedition, and whether there was any precedent for paying the expenses out of the Treasury Chest without such expedition having been previously sanctioned by Parliament? The then Chancellor of the Exchequer (now Lord St. Aldwyn) answered, that any advances out of the Chest must be repaid by a Vote of the House, or by the Egyptian Government, and that his answer to the last paragraph 2097 of the question was "Yes." I have no doubt he was very well advised before he gave that answer.
§ Sir S. BUCKMASTER
Instead of feeing temporarily applied it appears to have been permanently spent.
§ Sir S. BUCKMASTER
The next thing is this. [HON. MEMBERS: "Answer."] I do not really know what it is that hon. Members desire to know. If they are anxious for further precedents of their own Government, ransacked to show what has been done again and again, no doubt they can be obtained. [HON. MEMBERS: "Answer."] Answer what? I have repeatedly stated my own view of this matter. That is, that a loan is made for the public service that is advanced by the Foreign Office of this country to be applied for the benefit of this country. Finally, I have been asked whether this was to be repaid out of money appropriated by Parliament to such services, or whether "Appropriation" did not mean that it had either been appropriated by loan or immediately afterwards. There is no limitation whatever placed upon the word "Appropriated." It might either be moneys already appropriated or moneys which are to be appropriated.
§ Mr. MITCHELL-THOMSON
The right hon. and learned Gentleman has not made the case very much better in his doctrine on loans, for it comes strangely from a party which raised every possible objection to the Military Works Loan Act. In regard to "public services" the hon. and learned Gentleman said there was no definition in the Act. It is very odd that there is a Section in the Act that in the margin is labelled "Definitions."
§ Mr. MITCHELL-THOMSON
I am perfectly aware of that, but it is not a bad guide to intentions. I suggest to the hon. and learned Gentleman that the expression "public service" was read by the framers of this Act as meaning the public service of the United Kingdom only. If the assumption of the hon. and learned 2098 Gentleman be true, why is it necessary expressly to put in the words "Colonial service"? Is not the Colonial Office also part of the service of the United Kingdom. From the fact that the words "Colonial service" were put in is a clear intention that the service should be confined to the service of the United Kingdom, except in the case of the Colonial Office. The case does not stop there. The suggestion that was made by the Financial Secretary was, that under possible circumstances, if Persia, had raised her loan, that they need not have come to Parliament to sanction it—
It being Eleven of the Clock, the Chairman left the Chair to make his Report to the House.
§ Resolutions to be reported upon Monday next. Committee also report Progress, to sit again upon Monday next.
§ The Orders for the remaining Government Business were read and postponed.