HC Deb 30 June 1919 vol 117 cc610-1

asked the Lord Privy Seal (1) whether, under the secret agreement signed by Sir Starr Jameson on 14th August, 1893, half the loot seized from the Matabele became the property of the British South Africa Company; whether the total loot exceeded 70,000 head of catle; whether, in view of the statement that the British South Africa Company is claiming the costs of the Matabele war from His Majesty's Government, the value of the cattle and other loot will be deducted from the total claim; (2) whether His Majesty's Government have reached any decision as to the liability of the Crown for those administrative charges which have devolved upon the British South Africa Company arising out of the action of their agents in South Africa acting in defiance of the Imperial authorities, or charges incurred through misstatements made to the representative of the Imperial Government; (3) whether his attention has been drawn to the published admissions of the British South Africa Company, notably in the statement of policy issued in 1913, that it had not been possible for the company to keep distinct their administrative and commercial accounts; and whether, in view of this and the claim of the company in the interests of their shareholders, he will consider the advisability of having a special examination of the accounts of the British South Africa Company and present, for the information of this House, a Report upon the alleged deficits in the company's accounts?

Lieut.-Colonel AMERY

As the Lord Privy Seal informed the right hon. Member on the 16th April and 13th May, His Majesty's Government recognise that the claim of the Company demands the closest scrutiny, and are considering in what manner the nature and extent of the financial obligations arising out of the recent judgment of the Privy Council can best be ascertained. It is hoped to make a statement on the subject shortly.


Will the hon. Gentleman answer the part of the question which asks whether it is a fact that 70,000 head of cattle were looted?


Will my hon. Friend deny the statement in the last part of Question 67 that the Chartered Company had made mis-statements to the Government? Is it not a fact that there is not a word of truth in the allegation?

Lieut.-Colonel AMERY

I am not aware that any mis-statements have beeen made. As regards the figure of the cattle I am sorry I have not answered the question, and I am afraid I cannot answer it offhand.