HC Deb 29 May 1924 vol 174 cc582-4
28. Major BURNIE

asked the Home Secretary whether he is aware that a baronet is issuing circulars inviting British subjects to participate in financing cargoes of whisky to be sold on the high seas just outside the radius of the treaty recently concluded with the United States of America; and whether he intends to introduce legislation to make this practice illegal?


I would refer the hon. and gallant Member to the answers given by the Prime Minister yesterday to a question by the hon. Member for East Renfrew (Mr. Nichol) and to supplementary questions on this subject.

45. Mr. FOOT

asked the Prime Minister if he is aware that a widely-circulated appeal is being made over the name of Lieut.-Colonel Sir Brodrick Hartwell, Baronet, for investments to enable him to import liquor into the United States; and whether the Government can take any steps to check this effort to evade the law of a friendly State?


asked the Prime Minister if his attention has been called to circulars recently issued by Sir Broderick Hartwell, Baronet, inviting contributions from members of the public towards the shipment of liquor from this country for delivery on the high seas to vessels b longing to the American rum-running fleet, and guaranteeing a return of 25 per cent. on the money contributed within 60 days from the date the shipment leaves the United Kingdom; and whether, in view of the incitement which such traffic constitutes towards the breach of the laws of a friendly nation and the disturbance thereby created of the existing good relations between the United States and this country, he is prepared to institute an immediate inquiry into the matter, and to take the opinion of the Law Officers of the Crown as to whether such practices constitute a, breach of the provisions of Section 81 of the Spirits Act, 1880, and of the Regulations issued by the Commissioners of Customs under that Act?


His Majesty's Government are advised that the trans-shipment on the high seas of spirits exported without payment of duty is not of itself an infringement of the provisions of the Spirits Act, 1880. But I would refer both hon. Members to the replies given by my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister to the hon. Member for East Renfrew and to other hon. Members yesterday.


Will the right hon. Gentleman consider in this circular if the title of Lieut.-Colonel and Baronet is being used as a cover for reprehensible practices, and, if so, whether any mark of His Majesty's disfavour can be shown?


I am afraid the Foreign Office have no control over baronets as such.


Will the hon. Gentleman undertake.to consult with those interested in the matter in the House with a view to an amendment of the Regulations of the Commissioners of Customs under the Spirits Act in order to prevent this practice?


To check this practice, will the Government subsidise the importation of sweetened table waters?


Are not the profits of this industry liable to diminution by the appearance of third parties in other vessels who appropriate the cargo without compensation?

Viscountess ASTOR

Is it not almost an international scandal of a very grave character?

Forward to