§ Mr. W. E. M. TOMLINSON (Preston)
I beg to ask the Secretary of State for the Colonies whether he can give an approximate date on which it is likely that the sanction of Her Majesty's Government will be given to the construction of a cable giving telegraphic communication with the West Indies which shall be under British control; is he aware that a cable of three words from Antigua to Great Britain costs at the present reduced rates 19s.; and, is he aware that, whilst the Colonial Office are considering the question, the French and American lines are being pushed forward, and that when completed they will tap the principal sources of revenue, which would otherwise be secured to British enterprise?
§ THE SECRETARY OF STATE FOR THE COLONIES (Mr. J. CHAMBERLAIN,) Birmingham, W.
I cannot state the date at which an agreement for the construction of the cable referred to will be completed. Negotiations on the subject are in progress. A cable telegram of three words to Antigua costs 22s. 3d. A French cable has recently been laid by a French company in conjunction, as I understand, with an American company, which will compete for the West Indian traffic with the proposed British cable. I imagine this cable would have been laid in any case.
§ GENERAL LAURIE (Pembroke and Haverfordwest)
asked if the right hon. Gentleman was aware that both the Canadian Government and one or more of the West India minor Governments were so anxious that this cable should be constructed, that they had already voted or arranged for, subsidies to be granted for the purpose?
§ MR. J. CHAMBERLAIN
I think if the hon. and gallant Gentleman requires precise and definite information he should put his Question on the Paper.