§ Mr. FELL
asked the hon. Member for the Doncaster Division, as representing the Ecclesiastical Commissioners, if in addition to leasing the 3,400 acres of steam coal, at Chislet, in Kent, the Ecclesiastical Commissioners are now entertaining a proposal from the Anglo-Westphalian Kent Coal Syndicate to lease to them a large area of land at Lydden, about four miles from Dover Harbour, said to contain valuable seams of smokeless navigation steam coal; and if it is proposed that this area also shall be exploited by the German company known as the Allgemeine Tiefbohr and Schachtbau Aktien-Gesellschaft; and if there is any special reason for putting their steam coal lands in the 2340W hands of this German syndicate for development?
The Ecclesiastical Commissioners have received no proposal from the Anglo-Westphalian Kent Coal Syndicate to take any area but that in the neighbourhood of Chislet, and I am unable to say whether there is any steam coal under that area. As to their land at Lydden, the Commissioners are not in negotiation for a coal letting to any person or company. The special reason for entertaining the proposal of the Anglo-Westphalian Kent Coal Syndicate to explore the Chislet area and work the coal, if found, was that they were the only applicants for that area, and the Commissioners were satisfied of their ability to provide the necessary capital. The Commissioners have not put any area in the hands of any German company. As previously explained, and as is suggested by the name, German capital as well as English is invested in the Anglo-Westphalian Kent Coal Syndicate, the English company with which the Chislet letting has been arranged. The syndicate contract with foreign engineers or contractors for carrying out their operations precisely as any other colliery company may do.