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Volume 161: debated on Wednesday 14 March 1923

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European Government Services'association


asked the Under-Secretary of State for India whether, in view of the statement contained in a memorial from the Council of the Bombay Presidency Association of European Government Services, that many of the members of those services have almost reached the limit of endurance, he is now able to give an assurance that relief, where it is urgently necessary, will be given at an early date?

I regret that I can add nothing to the answer given to the hon. and gallant Baronet the Member for Melton on 26th February, of which I will send my hon. Friend a copy.

Government Chaplains


asked the Under-Secretary of State for India whether, having regard to the serious dislocation likely to occur in the supply of chaplains for British India and the consequent mischief likely to arise, he will see his way to defer the operation of the order made last autumn stopping the recruitment of Government chaplains for British India; and whether he will state for what period of years such Government chaplains were as a rule appointed?

My Noble Friend the Secretary of State for India is fully alive to the situation which the hon. Member describes, and is in communication with the Government of India. Chaplains qualify for retiring pension after 20 years' residence in India and 23 years' service, and ordinarily may be required to retire at the age of 55. They may also now retire with a bonus on completion of five years' service.

This question was put some weeks ago and the matter is now getting urgent as, unless the orders withdrawn, the supply will cease?

I assure my hon. and learned Friend that my Noble Friend the Secretary of State quite appreciates the urgency of the matter.

Imperial Wireless Communication

(by Private Notice) asked the Postmaster- General whether the arrangements to hand over to a commercial company Imperial wireless communications from Great Britain to British Possessions are finally concluded, except as regards the actual licences, and whether, as regards the terms of the licences, the House will be given an opportunity of discussion before they come into effect?

I have been asked to answer this question. The policy of the Government in this matter was announced by my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister on the 5th March, in answer to a question by the hon. Member for the Frame Division (Mr. Hurd). The provisions of the licences have not yet been settled, but when completed they will be laid on the Table of the House. The Government are not prepared to provide a special opportunity for discussion, but the question can be raised on the Estimates.

Steam Tug "Atlas" (Arrests)

(by Private Notice) asked the President of the Board of Trade whether his attention has been called to the imprisonment of nine British seamen at Corunna, members of the crew of the steam tug "Atlas"; whether they allege that they are ill-fed and confined with felons, and whether immediate steps can be taken for their liberation, and for an investigation of the case?

My Department received information yesterday from the Crown Agents to the Colonies that they had received a telegram from the master of the steam tug "Atlas" as follows: "Part crew in mutiny since Saturday. All under arrest —signing on local crew. Full details follow." I have also received from the hon. and gallant Member a copy of a letter from one of the crew stating that the crew had not received proper rations, and that numerous complaints hail been made, but had led to no improvement and complaining of the circumstances of their arrest and imprisonment. I have telegraphed to the British Consul at Corunna for a full report, and I will communicate with the hon. and gallant Member as soon as possible.