HC Deb 20 July 1923 vol 166 cc2690-1W

asked the Postmaster-General whether he is aware that in the agreements with shipping companies to carry mails to New York and other United States ports from this country there is a Clause imposing penalties for undue delay in carrying such mails to their ports of destination; that mails are now being sent from American ports by vessels under the American flag and directly controlled by the United States Shipping Board; that such ships are much slower in crossing the Atlantic than British vessels which carry mails to this country from American ports; whether undue delay in delivering mails for this country has been observed by this preference by the American Government for ships under the control of the United States Shipping Board; and whether representations have been made to Washington on the subject?


The mails from Great Britain to the United States are conveyed in the fastest ships available, and the contracts require that the passage across the Atlantic should be made in the shortest time consistent with prudent navigation. The selection of ships for the carriage of mails from the United States to Great Britain is made by the American Post Office, which defrays the cost. I understand it is the practice to give a preference to American ships, even though a delay of one or two days in the delivery of the mails is entailed. I do not think any useful purpose would be achieved at present by making representations to the United States Post Office with a view to the alteration of this policy, but I might point out that it is open to the senders of correspondence from America to mark their letters specially for conveyance by a particular ship, and such instructions are complied with.