§ Sir B. CHADWICK
asked the Undersecretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether his attention has been drawn to the action of the Government of the United States, whereby crews of British ships, when visiting American ports, are given by United States law the right to quit, which has resulted in the wholesale desertion of British crews, in contraven- 1396W tion of the articles of agreement drawn up under the supervision of an official of the British Government; and, if so, what steps have been taken to secure the rights of British shipmasters from the results of infringement of contracts entered into between themselves and seamen, which in the case of United States ships visiting ports in the British Empire are rigidly respected and enforced?
The attention of His Majesty's Government has been drawn to the provisions of the United States law to which the hon. Member refers, but it is not possible to say to what extent desertion, which has always been prevalent at United States ports, has been increased by this measure. The British law relating to desertion remains unaltered.