HC Deb 07 November 1916 vol 87 cc41-2
74 and 101. Sir WALTER ESSEX

asked (1) the Prime Minister whether His Majesty's Government has accepted any responsibility for the alleged administrative deficits of the British South Africa Company, or any other financial obligations connected with the administration of Southern Rhodesia beyond those contained in Article 33 of the Royal Charter; and whether he is prepared to give an assurance that no such financial obligations will be entertained beyond those referred to in the Royal Charter without first providing adequate facilities for Parliamentary discussion; and (2) the Secretary of State for the Colonies whether His Majesty's Government still attaches great importance to the principle that no new administration of Rhodesia shall be burdened with a debt-charge greater than the proportion of the corresponding asset, as set forth in Sir John Anderson's letter of 14th October, 1914; and whether he can give an assurance that there will be no departure from this principle by placing upon the future Government of Rhodesia or upon the Imperial Exchequer debt-charges arising out of the alleged administrative deficits of Rhodesia without first providing for adequate Parliamentary discussion?

The SECRETARY of STATE for the COLONIES (Mr. Bonar Law)

The views and policy of His Majesty's Government in these matters remain as hitherto, and no change is in contemplation. The letter referred to still holds good. As regards the last part of the hon. Member's questions it would be impossible to give such assurances without knowledge of the conditions that may prevail when these matters are ripe for settlement.

Commander WEDGWOOD

Can we receive an assurance from the right hon. Gentleman that we shall not be committed to buying out the Chartered Company's land in Southern Rhodesia without previous consultation with this House?


I can only say I have no reason to believe that the proposal is contemplated. I cannot give any assurance as to what may be done by future Governments.