§ MAJOR RASCH (Essex, Chelmsford)
I beg to ask the Secretary of State for India if he can state why the despatch of 25th March from Sir West Ridgway was allowed to be made public, and who was responsible for its publication.
§ THE SECRETARY OF STATE FOR THE COLONIES (Mr. J. CHAMBERLAIN,) Birmingham, W.
No, Sir. The Question should have been addressed to me, not to the Secretary of State for India, and I think it has been given notice of under some misapprehension, because, so far as I know, there has been no despatch written by or received from Sir West Ridgway on the subject in question. No such despatch has been published, and I think the hon. and gallant Gentleman must be referring to a report which I myself saw in The Times of an answer given by Sir West Ridgway to a question addressed to him by an independent member of the Ceylon Legislative Council. The proceedings of the Legislative Council are published, and it is open to anyone to telegraph such an answer; but no despatch of any sort on the subject has been received.
§ MAJOR RASCH
May I ask the right hon. Gentleman does he approve of the implied condemnation of a man before he has been heard?
§ MR. CHAMBERLAIN
Perhaps I may be allowed to reply to this as it is a personal question. There was no implied condemnation. The statement was that some very serious charge had been made, but the hope was expressed, which I am sure was shared by everybody, that the charge would be disproved.