§ MR. DILLON (Mayo, East)
I beg to ask the Secretary of State for India who is responsible for the use of the Dum-Dum bullet by British troops in India.
§ *THE SECRETARY OF STATE FOR INDIA (LORD GEORGE HAMILTON, Middlesex, Ealing)
I stated, in reply to a question put to me by the hon. Member in this House on March 24, 1898, that these bullets were issued by order of the Government of India, that no further sanction for their issue was necessary, and that no such sanction was either asked for or given; but that Her Majesty's Government were fully informed as to the proceedings of the Government of India, and saw no reason for questioning their propriety. I may add that the reason for the issue of this bullet was that experience 301 had shown that the bullet previously in use did not adequately protect the troops using it. As at present advised, I see no reason for modifying the opinion which I then expressed. But I may add that since last autumn the Government of India have hail a new pattern of bullet under trial, and I was informed in reply to an inquiry about two months ago that those trials were not complete, but that they would be proceeded with and reported on as soon as possible.
§ MR. DILLON
Will the noble Lord kindly state whether he will be willing to lay before the House, before the new bullet is adopted, the opinion of medical experts as to the effects of the bullet?
§ *Loan G. HAMILTON
There were experiments made in connection with the old bullet, and it was on the strength of those experiments that the bullet now in use was adopted.
§ MR. DILLON
But the result of those experiments was never communicated to the House of Commons. This is becoming a very serious question now. When I pressed the noble Lord on a previous occasion he refused me information as to the Dum-Dum bullet and I wish to know now—and I think it a reasonable question—whether he can undertake and will undertake to communicate to the House of Commons the results of the experiments now being tried with the new bullet, before it is adopted for the Indian troops.
§ *LORD G. HAMILTON
I am not aware that I ever refused, on a previous occasion, to give the reports that were then asked for, and if the hon Member wishes to have them I will lay them before the House.
§ COL. MILWARD (Warwick, Stratford-upon-Avon)
May I ask the Secretary of State whether the Dum-Dum bullet contains any explosive substance, or whether it is not composed of a leaden nose and a nickel base, instead of the nickel nose and leaden base of the Lee-Metford bullet?
§ Mr. CHANNING
I beg to ask the Under Secretary of State for War 302 whether, in view of the decisive condemnation of the use of the Dum-Dum bullet by the Peace Conference at the Hague, Her Majesty's Government will take into consideration the advisability of discontinuing the use of this bullet in wars with semi-civilised or savage people, as well as with those nations who are parties to the Conference?
§ *The UNDER SECRETARY OF STATE FOR WAR (Mr. WYNDHAM, Dover)
I would ask leave to refer the hon. Member to the First Lord's reply to a later question on the Paper.