§ MR. RUNCIMAN (Oldham)
I beg to ask the Under Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether his attention has been called to Department Circular No. 17, dated 8th February, 1899, promulgated by the Treasury Department of the Bureau of Navigation at Washington, United States of America, reciting an amendment in the Federal Laws of 1884, by an Act approved 21st December, 1898; whether, under the amendment referred to, it becomes unlawful to pay any seaman wages in advance of the time when he has actually earned the same; also, whether any shipmaster paying such an advance to seamen becomes liable to heavy fine and six months' imprisonment; whether any treaty exists between Great Britain and the United States exempting our national shipping from the operation of American domestic legislation, which is in conflict with British law, or otherwise; and whether Her Majesty's Government are prepared to 1284 negotiate with the United States for the protection of British shipowners and seamen in regard to advances, which are legal in this country, and especially against the exaction of what is called "blood money" by crimps in lieu of such advances.
§ * MR. BRODRICK
My attention has been called to the Circular issued by the Treasury Department of the Bureau of Navigation at Washington. The questions affecting British shipping which arise in connection with the United States law referred to are receiving the careful consideration of Her Majesty's Government.