HC Deb 28 June 1920 vol 131 cc43-4
90. Lieut.-Colonel FREMANTLE

asked the Postmaster-General if he is aware that the mail service to the United States of America is lamentably slow and irregular; that letters, for instance, posted on the 3rd of May arrived after those posted on the 10th; that such instances are frequent; that, having regard to the difference of exchange, this irregularity is liable to be of serious consequence in business transactions; and whether he can take immediate steps to assure the required improvement?

The POSTMASTER-GENERAL (Mr. Illingworth)

I am aware that the mail service from this country to the United States of America has for some time past been somewhat slow and irregular as compared with the pre-War service. This is chiefly due to the depletion of the fleets of the shipping companies concerned, as a result of the War; but labour troubles and coaling difficulties have been contributory causes. I am glad to say that the number of fast steamships available has recently been augmented; and a better service may be expected in future. The despatch of letters for the United Stat s of America which were posted on the 3rd of May was delayed by a strike; but they should have reached the addresses in New York not later than the 17th of May, whereas letters posted here on the 10th of May cannot have reached New York before the 21st. If the hon. Member can send me the covers of any letters posted on the 3rd of May which were delivered after the 21st, I will see whether any light can be thrown on the delay.


Can the right hon. Gentleman assure the House that letters are delayed in order that telegrams may get to their destination a little bit quicker than letters?