Mr. CATHCART WASON
asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies if he could obtain a Return of the number of cases tried in the New Hebrides before the Joint Court during the last two years, showing also how many convictions have been obtained and punishments actually inflicted upon offenders, or fines levied and paid?1651W
Mr. CATHCART WASON
asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies if his attention has been directed to complaints that have reached Australia of the supply of intoxicants to natives, the irregular recruitment of women, kidnapping and illegal detention of natives in the New Hebrides, to the further statement that any decision of the Joint Court against the French is quite useless, and that kidnapping or murder of natives by white men is not triable before a Joint Court; and whether, under all the circumstances, he will consider the possibility of arranging for an Anglo-French Commission to inquire how the interests of the natives and the credit of France and Great Britain might be best withheld?
§ Major ANSTRUTHER-GRAY
asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies whether his attention has been called to fresh complaints from the New Hebrides as to the supply of intoxicants to natives, kidnapping, and illegal detention; and what steps he intends to take to put a stop to these practices?
My attention has been drawn to Press reports of the character indicated. It is true criminal offences by Europeans against natives as distinct from offences against the provisions of the Convention are not justifiable by the Joint Court, but the offenders are amenable to the criminal jurisdiction of the national Courts. In view of the recent changes in the existing system, and the proposals for its further amendment, to which I referred in my reply to a question by my hon. Friend on 26th June, I do not think that it is yet necessary to consider the setting up of an Anglo-French Commission to investigate the situation.