§ Mr. ALBERY
asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether his attention has been drawn to the terms of a Bill which has recently been introduced into the Parliament of the Union of South Africa, entitled the Colonial Stock Act (1900) Declaration Bill; and whether he is in a position to make any statement on the subject?
Yes, Sir. The Bill in question is the result of an agreement between His Majesty's Governments in the United Kingdom and in the Union of South Africa and will be followed by legislation in this country. Last autumn the Union Government informed us that they proposed to repeal Section 65 of the South Africa Act, 1909, which provides for the exercise of the power of disallowance in respect of Union legislation. The action they proposed to take was in accordance with the constitutional developments of the last few years. But, as the House is aware, one of the conditions prescribed by the Treasury under the Colonial Stock Act, 1900, with which every Dominion or Colonial Government must comply in order to obtain trustee status in the United Kingdom for their securities, is concerned with this power of disallowance. The Third Treasury condition stipulates that the right of disallowance shall be expressly recognised by the borrowing Government in respect of any legislation which appears to the United Kingdom Government to alter any of the provisions affecting the stock to the injury of the stockholder or to involve a departure from the original contract in regard to the stock. The Union Government, therefore, realising that when the power of disallowance ceased these conditions would in the absence of express stipulation become nugatory, and desiring to maintain in the fullest possible degree the rights of holders of their stocks, approached His Majesty's Government in the United Kingdom with a view to devising an alternative form of safeguard.
As a result of discussion between the two Governments, it was agreed, I am glad to say, that the Union Government should enter into an undertaking with the United Kingdom Government, which should be accepted by the Treasury, subject to the approval of Parliament, as an 1907W alternative to the third of the existing conditions to which I have just referred. The Union Government have already passed an Act to confirm this undertaking; that is the Bill to which my hon. Friend refers. The following is the new form of undertaking which, as I say, has been confirmed by an Act of the Parliament of the Union:His Majesty's Government in the Dominion has undertaken that legislation which appears to His Majesty's Government in the United Kingdom to alter any of the provisions affecting the stock to the injury of stockholders or to involve a departure from the original contract in regard to the stock, shall not be submitted for the Royal Assent except after agreement with His Majesty's Government in the United Kingdom, and that, if attention is drawn to any such legislation as aforesaid after the passing thereof by the Parliament of the Dominion, His Majesty's Government in the Dominion will take the necessary steps to ensure such amendment as may be requested by His Majesty's Government in the United Kingdom.
A Bill is being presented to this House authorising the Treasury to accept an undertaking in the agreed form from any Dominion Government which prefers to adopt this as an alternative to the existing
Comparative Statement of the Quantities of Cotton Imports into Ceylon from the United Kingdom and Japan for the three months ended March, 1933 and 1934. Article. United Kingdom. Japan. 3 months ended 31st March, 1933. 3 months ended 31st March, 1934. 3 months ended 31st March, 1933. 3 months ended 31st March, 1934. Cotton yarn and Twist— Bleached 4,567 lb. 10,520 lb. — 2,247 lb Dyed 2,037 lb. — 5 lb. — Grey 400 lb. 1,200 lb. — — Other — — — — Cotton piece goods— Bleached 1,173,454 yd. 813,161 yd. 1,067,268 yd. 3,565,001 yd. Dyed 328,417 yd. 383,316 yd. 4,249,740 yd. 9,274,126 yd. Grey 206,910 yd. 147,356 yd. 189,000 yd. 1,003,950 yd. Printed 1,251,696 yd. 448,930 yd. 1,773,893 yd. 3,657,696 yd. Muslin 109 yd. — — — Other 4,019 yd. 43,785 yd. 4,995 yd. 304 yd. Lace and net 476,235 yd. 412,328 yd. — — Embroidery — 193 yd. — — Thread 25,479 lb. 22,957 lb. 331 lb. 520 lb. Small Wares (including ribbons and trimmings). 51,696 yd. — 11,520 yd. 5 yd. Cotton manufactures not otherwise specified. 465,830 yd. 6,255 yd. 663 yd. — 6,242 doz. 5,131 doz. 21,225 doz. 45,497 doz.
condition. On the other hand, any Dominion Government which prefers to borrow under the existing Treasury condition, as many of these Governments do, is at liberty to continue its existing practice. I should add that I am entirely satisfied that the existing rights of stockholders will be safeguarded equally under either condition; in this respect there is no difference of substance between the two alternatives. No present or future stockholder need be under any apprehension on this account.