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Mail, Cable And Airgraph Services, West Africa

Volume 387: debated on Wednesday 24 March 1943

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asked the Postmaster-General whether he is aware of the delays that take place in the mail and cable services to West Africa; and whether he is taking steps to improve these services and to eliminate avoidable delays?

Until quite recently, owing to lack of aircraft capacity, the only means of transmission to West Africa was by surface transport which, as the hon. Member will appreciate, is subject to unavoidable delays incidental to war time conditions. I am happy however to say that since 5th March sufficient aircraft capacity has been made available to enable me to extend the air letter service to His Majesty's Forces serving in West Africa. I am informed that there is not normally delay in telegraphic transmission between this country and West Africa.

Has the attention of the Postmaster-General been called to the fact that letters to West Africa take sometimes from three to four months, air mail three weeks and the cable five days, while parcels do not seem to get there at all? Can he do anything about these matters?

I cannot accept all those figures offhand, but they sound like the sort of proportion of delay in the mails from West Africa in the past.


asked the Postmaster-General whether the Government have come to any decision regarding the establishment of an airgraph service to West Africa?

I have been advised by my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for War that the provision of technical facilities necessary for an airgraph service in West Africa would not at present be justified since, owing to the distribution of the troops in West Africa over a wide area, an airgraph service would be slower than the air letter service now available.