HC Deb 05 June 1919 vol 116 cc2195-6
36. Major-General Sir N. MOORE

asked the Postmaster-General if he will state what steps have been taken to obviate commercial cables being delayed in favour of Government messages which are not really urgent?


In consequence of the congestion on the cables of the Eastern and Associated Telegraph Companies, arrangements were made recently to suspend the priority of transmission usually accorded to all Government telegrams passing over the cables except in the case of those of a really urgent nature. The bulk of the Government telegrams are now dealt with in the same way as commercial telegrams and special steps have been taken to reduce their number and length.


Are the Eastern Company able to-day to take any fully-paid messages on their own wires?


I am afraid I should want notice of that question. The cables belong to the company, and not to the Post Office.


Is it not a fact that many messages now to Australia have taken upwards of ten and twelve days from this country?


I believe it is somewhere about that.

37. Sir N. MOORE

asked the Post master-General if repairs have been effected to the Gibraltar and American Pacific cables; and, if so, whether they have resulted in any acceleration of messages to Australia and the Far East?


The cables to Gibraltar have been restored, but there are faults in two of them which prevent their being used to their full extent. The American Pacific cable is still interrupted, but I understand that cable ships are actively engaged on its repair, and that it is hoped the work will be completed in a few days. The restoration of this cable will to some extent relieve the congestion to the Far East.

38. Sir N. MOORE

asked the Post-master-General if he will take the necessary action to have the regulations amended without delay to allow of business cables being sent in private codes, thus reducing the wordage and materially assisting in retaining Great Britain's foreign trade?

Colonel SANDERS (for Mr. Churchill)

This matter is now receiving the attention of His Majesty's Government.


May I ask whether military necessity will cause the prohibition of private codes?


The hon. and gallant Member had better give notice of that question.