HC Deb 17 July 1916 vol 84 cc639-40
6. Major HUNT

asked the Under-Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether, in view of the fact that it was stated on behalf of the Government that commodities of any kind would be prevented from reaching or leaving Germany, he can explain what is meant in Clause D of the new Orders in Council, which provides that a vessel carrying, contraband shall be liable to capture and condemnation if the contraband forms more than half the cargo; and if he will say whether a ship carrying just under half contraband goods would be free to continue her voyage and deliver her goods?


This question seems to be founded on a complete misapprehension. The Clause to which the hon. Member refers applies to the penalty incurred by the vessel herself and does not affect the rules governing the treatment of contraband cargoes. In the case supposed of a vessel carrying less than half a cargo of contraband the contraband would be put into the Prize Court in the usual way. I do not know if the hon. Member's question wishes to suggest that where even a small portion of the cargo is contraband and the rest is bonâ-fide neutral traffic not destined for the enemy at all, the whole of the cargo should be detained and the whole ship confiscated. But if so, I can only say that this would be a violation of all international law and would greatly embarrass His Majesty's Government in the conduct of the War.

8. Major HUNT

asked the Under-Secretary for Foreign Affairs whether his attention has been called to the smuggling of fat and other contraband from Holland into Germany by bands of men organised for that purpose; and whether he will make representations to the Dutch Government asking them to prevent the continuation of this practice?


His Majesty's Government are aware that in spite of the more stringent measures recently adopted by the Netherlands Government some smuggling of various goods from the Netherlands into Germany continues. They understand that the Netherlands authorities are actively engaged in endeavouring to prevent such traffic.