§ MR. G. GREENWOOD (Peterborough)
I beg to ask the Under-Secretary of State for the Colonies whether a fresh shipment of Chinese coolies is about to leave, or has just left, China for the gold mines of the Transvaal; and, if so, what steps His Majesty's Government intend to take, in view of the assurances given on behalf of the Government that the last shipload of Chinese had gone to South Africa before the l5th November.
§ MR. CHURCHILL
The steamship "Cranley" left Ching-Wang-tao on 27th November with 1,000 coolies on board for the Rand. It is the last vessel that will carry Chinese coolies to South Africa, as the Consular authority to recruit and embark was withdrawn on 30th November. The coolies on board do not amount to a complete shipload, and are the remainder of those for whom licences had been issued. But I am quite free to admit to the House that the figures at my disposal had led me to believe that the total number of coolies licensed to be imported had already been accomplished without this last shipment, albeit incomplete, and the information contained in the newspapers was to me as unexpected as it was unwelcome.
§ MAJOR SEELY
asked whether the hon. Gentleman would make further inquiries as to whether his first information was not correct that the whole 16,000 had already been sent; and, if so, whether he would take steps to have these men returned.
§ MR. CHURCHILL
If it should appear that any of these 1,000 men were not covered by the licences which the Cabinet have decided must be recognised, then I entirely agree that steps would have to be taken to prevent their landing in South Africa. But I think there is no chance of that being the case.