HL Deb 17 February 1902 vol 103 cc149-50

My Lords, I beg to ask the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs what has been the result of the representations of our Chargé d'Affaires at Tôkiô in regard to the ease of Mr. Gilmour; and whether the Japanese Government are prepared to compensate this officer for the grave indignities which have been placed upon him.


My Lords, representations were made to the Japanese Government in regard to the case to which the noble Lord calls attention—a case which, in my opinion, is undoubtedly a hard one. The Japanese Government fully admit that the failure of Mr. Gilmour to appear at the hearing of the civil action which was brought against him for damages and his condemnation by default were due to the negligence of the police and the prison officials who were responsible for his custody. Those officials, I am glad to say, have been punished—in some cases by official censure, and in the others by deprivation of part of their official emoluments. The further question arose whether Mr. Gilmour was not entitled to some compensation for the hard usage he had experienced. The reply of the Japanese Government on that point was, that if Mr. Gilmour desired to obtain redress, he should, in accordance with the law of the country, institute proceedings against the authorities by whose misconduct he had suffered. In our opinion that is scarcely a proposal adequate to meet the case, because Mr. Gilmour is a person not in wealthy circumstances, and I fancy he has rejoined his ship, and would consequently not be able to have recourse to the remedy suggested. We have, therefore, asked the Japanese Government to reconsider the matter, and if possible, at any rate, to indemnify Mr. Gilmour for the costs to which he was put in the case. We have not yet received the answer of the Japanese Government, and as soon as it reaches us I shall be glad to communicate it to the noble Lord.