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Ocean Island

Volume 65: debated on Tuesday 21 July 1914

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asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies if he will say what is the official explanation of the fact that in Sir E. im Thurn's report on the maladministration of Ocean Island there is no evidence or assertion that evidence had been obtained or sought from Natives or from Europeans friendly to them or from any person but representatives of the Pacific Phosphate Company and the accused. Mr. Campbell; and, if any independent inquiry has been held into the complaints made by the islanders and on their behalf, will he give a reference to the result?

Sir E. im Thurn's report of 1906 did not relate in any way to the affairs of Ocean Island, or the Pacific Phosphate Company, but to alleged maladministration on other islands of the Gilbert and Ellice Islands Protectorate.


asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies whether the charges of maladministration of Ocean Island, which Sir E. im Thurn was sent to investigate, included numerous charges against. Mr. Cogswell of having flogged named natives to the point of death; why neither of those natives nor the Europeans who reported the facts were examined; and whether he is aware that. Mr. Cogswell had previously been in the service of the Pacific Island Company?

I cannot find that any specific charges against. Mr. Cogswell were included amongst the matters referred to Sir E. im Thurn for inquiry. I do not know whether. Mr. Cogswell was employed by the Pacific Islands Company before he entered the service of the Gilbert and Ellice Islands Government in 1901. He retired from that service in 1910.

Can the right hon. Gentleman say for what purposes if not for flogging the Colonial Office officials in Ocean Island keep in their equipment a cat-o'-nine-tails?


asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies if he will give the House the terms of the indenture under which native labourers work for the Pacific Phosphate Company on Ocean Island?

A copy of the present form of indenture will be placed in the Library of the House.


asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies if the concession of the monopoly of Guano phosphate on Ocean Island to the Pacific Phosphate Company was not obtained by misrepresentation and was fair to the islanders, will he say on what grounds the concession was revised and on what evidence or in formation other than that of the company the royalty was doubled?

I have nothing to add to the reply to the hon. Member's question of 7th July, in which I stated that the terms were revised in consequence of a report from the Assistant to the High Commissioner for the Western Pacific.