HC Deb 02 July 1924 vol 175 cc1299-300
7. Mr. J. HARRIS

asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Admiralty whether he will issue a report upon the operations of the Navy with regard to its successful efforts in coping with slave-trading in the Red Sea and in the Indian Ocean?


There is nothing of particular interest to report as regards these operations beyond the information already given in my reply to questions asked by the hon. Member for Erdington on the 13th December, 1922, and the late hon. Member for Derby on the 21st March, 1923, copies of which I am sending the hon. Member. The success achieved in checking the slave traffic in these waters is due to the traders being aware that patrols are carried out, and that their dhows may be stopped and searched at any time. This patrolling is a preventive measure which, though arduous, does not provide material for a report. In fact, details would only provide information of value to the slave trader.


Is the hon. Gentleman aware that publicity in this matter is of the greatest assistance, and that the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Sparkbrook (Mr. Amery) always issued reports in reference to these operations, and that these reports had a material effect in checking the traffic?


I quite appreciate the hon. Member's supplementary question, but, as at present advised, it does appear that the publicity which is sought for would at this moment give information which it would be undesirable to give.

Captain Viscount CURZON

Can the hon. Gentleman give the House an assurance that should it be decided to resume these operations, destroyers will not be detailed for that purpose in view of the extreme unsuitability of the build of these vessels for working in very hot climates?


Will the hon. Gentleman call for a report from the Navy in Northern Ireland waters as to the condition of the Nationalist internees held for two years. Their lives should be as valuable surely as those of the slaves in the Indian Ocean.

Viscount CURZON

Why do you not catch the Queenstown murderers?


Some people should have caught you on your recent visit to Northern Ireland.


Why does the hon. Gentleman appear to be more reluctant to give this information than his predecessor?


I am not at all reluctant to give information, but it is a matter for consideration whether such publicity would increase or decrease the value of what is being done.

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