§ Mr. LLOYD
asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, whether he had any information leading him to believe that the Island of Palmyra had been annexed by the United States of America Government; whether this island was British and administered by a British deputy-commissioner; and what steps he intended taking to protect British interests?
§ Mr. MITCHELL-THOMSON
asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether he had any official information to show that the United States Government had taken, steps to officially assert its sovereignty over Palmyra Island; whether Palmyra Island was correctly described in the Admiralty sailing directions as having been formally annexed to Great Britain by Commander Nichols, of Her Majesty's ship "Cormorant," on 28th May, 1889; and, if so, whether His Majesty's Government proposed to address any representation on the subject to the Government of the United States?
§ The UNDER-SECRETARY of STATE for FOREIGN AFFAIRS (Mr. Acland)
I have no official information that the United States Government have taken any steps to assert a claim to Palmyra Island. A British Protectorate over that Island was declared in 1889 in connection with the Pacific cable. A re-survey was made in 1897 when another island was found to be more suitable for the purposes of a landing station. Palmyra was thereupon abandoned, and His Majesty's Government have taken no further interest in it.
§ Mr. ACLAND
I must leave the hon. Member to form his own judgment from the answers I have given. I take it that Palmyra was abandoned by the British Government, and that we have taken no further interest in it.
Mr. MURRAY MACDONALD
Can the hon. Gentleman say whether the island is of value and whether it is inhabited?
§ Mr. ACLAND
I cannot deny that the island is of value, because I believe it was once sold for the sum of one dollar. Nor can I deny that it is inhabited, but it is only by crabs.