asked the Postmaster-General if his attention has been called to the uniform delay of 24 hours onwards in the transmission of cables to and from India when sent at normal rate, and what steps he proposes to take to remove this serious ban on British trade; whether the cable between China and the United States has been broken down; if it is now repaired; if not, when it will be; and whether, in view of the dissatisfaction amongst merchants, manufacturers, and other users of cables with the continued triple rate charges for urgent cables, he will take all possible steps, including representations to other Governments if necessary, to secure the abolition of the urgent trebled rate.
§ Mr. KELLAWAY
The delay on the Eastern Telegraph Company's cables to India has been due to the large increase of traffic since the War, and the continued interruption of the landline routes to1742W India and the Far East. To meet the pressure the Eastern Company laid a new line of cables between this country and Singapore in 1920, and they propose to lay another line to Singapore in the near future. There has been a marked improvement in the service during the last two years, and further relief will be afforded by the Government wireless service to Egypt, which will be opened in the course of the next few months. The cable between China and the United States was interrupted in January, and was repaired on the 5th instant. The "urgent" service was introduced as the result of representations from the commercial community; and while the delay remains abnormal and an urgent service is available in foreign countries, I do not think it would be in the interests of British cable users to abolish it.