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Transvaal Loan (Guarantee) Bill

Volume 181: debated on Tuesday 20 August 1907

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Considered in Committee.

said that, as the right hon. Gentleman the Under-Secretary for the Colonies knew, they had agreed on the Front Opposition Bench that they would not on the Committee stage of the Bill discuss questions of principle which had been raised on the Second Reading. He wanted, however, to ask the right hon. Gentleman one question which they could not touch on during the Second Reading debate. It was a small point of detail, but of some importance. In the White Paper on the Finances of the Transvaal, which was circulated preliminary to their discussions on this Bill, there was included a telegram from the Governor to the Secretary of State dated 17th June, which concluded with this sentence—

"To avoid having large balances lying idle, Ministers propose to adopt the suggestion made by the Prime Minister in London that such moneys as may be required for loan service before issue of the loan should be advanced by Imperial Treasury."
He presumed the Prime Minister mentioned there was the Prime Minister of the Transvaal, and not of this country. He did not know that any reference to that suggestion was made in any subsequent telegram included in the White Paper, nor did he see any provision made in the Bill to carry out the suggestion. What he wanted to know was whether the Government intended to carry it out, and, if so, what were the words in the Bill which would enable them to do so.

said he was very glad it was not the intention of the Opposition to renew on this stage of the Bill the serious and far-reaching discussion of principles which occupied the greater part of the previous day. With regard to the point now raised, the telegram which appeared on page 5 of the White Paper was of course only the view and opinions of the Transvaal Government. The reference to the Prime Minister meant of course General Botha when he was in London. The representatives of His Majesty's Government discussed matters with General Botha in London and they knew that the Transvaal would not require all the money at once, but would require it in certain sums from time to time. Therefore, it was thought that short date Treasury Bills might be advanced. What was intended was that they should be Transvaal Treasury bonds, but power would be taken in the Bill to enable the Government to extend the guarantees to such bonds when they should be issued by the Transvaal. The decision would be as it appeared in the Bill and not in the paragraph to which the right hon. Gentleman had properly drawn attention. Bill reported, without Amendment; to be read the third time to-marrow (Wednesday).