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French Contraband Trade With The New Hebrides

Volume 180: debated on Thursday 8 August 1907

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I beg to ask the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether he has received further complaints from missionaries in the New Hebrides and Australian traders with the islands of the continued importation by French ships of contraband; whether the French Government have any means of preventing this traffic; and whether he will endeavour to hasten negotiations with the French Government with a view to stopping it at the earliest possible moment in the interests alike of the natives and of British traders.

(Sir EDWARD GREY, Northumberland, Berwick)

No recent complaints have been received from missionaries or Australian traders, but a representation has been received from the Australian Government. His Majesty's Government are in communication with the French Government on the question of the prohibition of the sale of liquor, etc., to natives of the islands, and hope for a favourable reply shortly. They trust that, in any case, the provisions as to the sale of arms, liquor, etc., will be brought into force within the next few months. They have no information as to what means the French Government may have meanwhile of preventing the traffic.