asked the Postmaster-General whether he is aware of the inconvenience and loss suffered by that section of the community who have business relations with France, owing to the present postal arrangements, under which letters posted in Paris in the afternoon are not delivered in London until between noon and three in the afternoon of the next day, according to the district; whether he has been in communication with the French Government with the object of remedying this situation; and whether, if it is not possible to re-institute the pre-War mail train, leaving the Gare du Nord at nine o'clock in the evening, it could be arranged that the mails be forwarded via Dieppe and Newhaven by the train leaving St. Lazare at 9.5 p.m. each evening and that, as before the War, a postal box should be attached enabling letters bearing a late fee stamp to be posted up to the actual departure of the train?
asked the Postmaster-General whether he will endeavour to make an arrangement with the French Government with a view to providing a more rapid postal service between Paris and London?
asked the Postmaster-General whether he has been in communication with the French postal authorities regarding the acceleration of the postal service by night from Paris to London; and, if so, with what result?
asked the Postmaster-General whether it would be possible for him, in consultation with the postal authorities in France, to arrange for the pre-War service of letters between France and England to be resumed, and, particularly, for letters posted in Paris in the afternoon or evening of one day to leave Paris the same night, so that they might be delivered in London the next morning; whether this could be brought about either by reinstating the mail train, which used to leave the Gare du Nord at 9 p.m., or by utilising the train which now leaves the Gare St. Lazare for Dieppe at 9.15 p.m.; and whether he realises the serious loss and inconvenience which the present system inflicts upon the business communities in both France and England?
My attention has been drawn to this matter. I have more than once brought the question to the notice of the French Post Office, which is responsible for the arrangements for conveying mails from Paris to this country, and I am assured that that Office is fully alive to the desirability of improving the present service. I am not sanguine of an early return to pre-War arrangements, but I am in hopes that it may be found possible to introduce improvements in the present service which will give an earlier delivery in London generally. The transfer of the mails to the Dieppe-Newhaven route is a question for the consideration of the French Post Office.
asked the Postmaster-General how long the mails take to reach India from this country; if he is aware of the great importance to merchants in Great Britain and India of a quick mail service; what steps are being taken to expedite the Indian mail service; and whether the possibilities of quick overland or aerial transport have been considered, and with what result?
The Indian mail is due at Bombay in 14½ days after leaving London. Occasionally it arrives rather later, as the Peninsular and Oriental Steam Navigation Company have not yet been able to replace fully their war losses and to provide a fleet of uniform speed for the service. I am aware of the great importance to commercial interests of a quick mail service to India, and advantage is taken of every opportunity of improving the service. I do not see any prospect of any material acceleration in overland transit. The possibilities of air transport in connection with the Imperial mail services generally are being explored by the Civil Aviation Advisory Board.
Is the right hon. Gentleman's Department in constant consultation with the Middle East Department with a view to utilising aircraft, which now fly continuously in that area, with a view to quickening up the mails?
This question is being considered by the Civil Aviation Advisory Board at present.
Is the Post Office represented on that?
asked the Postmaster-General whether it is proposed that private business concerns shall be permitted to advertise through the medium of Post Office obliterating stamps, or whether the Post Office intends to reserve the obliterating stamp for its own purposes?
For the present it is proposed to restrict advertisements on Post Office date stamps to objects in which the Post Office or other Departments of State are interested.
Can the right hon. Gentleman give the House an assurance that these stamps will not be used by the Government for the purpose of propaganda?
I think I must have notice of that question.