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The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 50

Affairs in the Pacific Islands

Affairs in the Pacific Islands.

Mr. Berry, on the following notice of motion being called,—" To call attention to the islands of Raiatea and Samoa, with the view of moving for further information with respect to the present position of affairs in those islands," said: Mr. President,—I gave this notice of motion with the view of calling the attention of the Council to certain notices, not official, certainly, but at the same time appearing in the public Press, apparently with authority, which are, I think, of considerable importance, and seem to call for some enquiry or action on the part of the Council if we are to be the vigilant guardians of Australasian interests that is expected from us. Perhaps I had better place the Council in possession of the intimations in the Press that have caused me to give notice of this motion. I have made the motion vague, because it is more for the purpose of ascertaining in what way the Council, now and in the future, will place itself in the way of obtaining official information with respect to contemplated action between the Imperial Government and any foreign Government with regard to any of the islands in the Pacific. The notice to which I call special attention appears in a telegraphic Communication from London, and was published in the Argus of January 21, the day on which the delegates left Melbourne to come to this Council. It is to this effect:—" An agreement has been concluded between the English and French Governments, by which Franco is allowed to have possession of the Island of Raiatea, in the Society Archipelago, an d in return abandons her long-standing claim to fishing rights on the coast of Newfoundland." In addition to that, it is a matter of notoriety that at the present time the relations of Germany with the Island of Samoa are not at all satisfactory. In the same paper, of one day's later date, January 22, there is an in- page 25 timation that "The German Foreign Office has replied to Lord Salisbury's representations with regard to the recent high-handed proceedings of certain German naval officers in Samoa. Lord Salisbury was assured in the most positive manner that Germany docs not contemplate the annexation of Samoa." That would be satisfactory were it not that we know that in diplomancy words are used, and are sometimes strictly interpreted, leaving apparently liberty of action in some corresponding direction, though not exactly in the same way or to the same extent as is implied by the term that has been repudiated. There are many modes by which Germany can improve her position, politically, in Samoa without absolute annexation; and although we are dealing not with official documents, but with intelligence in the public Press, it does not appear to me, in the light of past and present circumstances that have occurred, or are occurring, at Samoa, that the most positive assurance that Germany does not contemplate the annexation of Samoa is altogether satisfactory. It will be within the recollection of this Council that when the convention sat these subjects obtained a considerable amount of attention. Attention was called at the convention to the position of France and England with respect to the island of Raiatea; and I find that in consequence of the enquiries made, and the discussion that arose, information was sought and was communicated to the Convention with regard to the exact position of affairs between England and France with respect to the island of Raiatea. A copy of the official treaty between those two countries was forwarded to the Convention, and printed amongst its "Votes and Proceedings." It is a declaration of the plenipotentiaries of Great Britain and France acknowledging the independence of the islands of Huahine, Raiatea, and Borabora, and of the small islands adjacent thereto, in the Pacific Occan. It is very brief, consisting of only three clauses, and is signed by "Palruerston" and "Jarnac," on behalf of the two countries. The three clauses are as follow:—

"1. Formally to acknowledge the independence of the islands of Huahine, Raiatea, and Borabora (to the leeward of Tahiti), and of the small islands adjacent to and dependent upon those islands.

"2. Never to take possession of the said islands, nor of any one or more of them, either absolutely or under the title of a protectorate, or in any other form whatever.

"3. Never to acknowledge that a chief or prince reigning in Tahiti can at the same time reign in any one or more of the other islands above mentioned; nor, on the other hand, that a chief or prince reigning in any one or more of those islands can reign at the same time in Tahiti; the reciprocal independence of the islands above mentioned, and of the island of tahita and its dependencies being established as a principle."

The only other reference I can find to these islands is contained in a letter from the Agents-General in London, in which they make a very elaborate and very exhaustive statement to Lord Derby as to the position taken up by Australia with respect to the unappropriated islands of the Pacific. It is a very long, full, and conclusive ducument. With regard to the Raiatea group they say—

"Again, by a reciprocal engagement entered into between England and France in 1847, respecting the Raiatea group of islets (to the leeward of Tahiti) both nations bound themselves 'never to take possession of the islands, either absolutely, or under the title of a protectorate, or in any other form whatever. But the French flag has been hoisted for three years on those islands, without, so far as we know, any consent or recognition having been given by Her Majesty's Government."—

I have an impression, although I can find no allusion to it in the report of the convention, that the hoisting of the flag was for a fixed period, France undertaking to remove the flag at the expiration of that time, and that some tacit consent had been given to the arrangement. But, as I said, I can find no record of it in the proceedings of the convention,

Mr. Griffith: The arrangement for continuing the hoisting of the flag was recorded in the proceedings.

Mr. Berry: I have not succeeded in finding it, but I was under the impression that that was what did take place. In 1885 the telegraphic correspondence indicated action in the direction of the paragraph which I have read. A Reuters telegram, dated March 13, 1885, states:—" The Hon. Evelyn Ashley, the Under-Secretary of State for the Colonics, in reply to a question in the House of Commons last night, said that negotiations were proceeding with France in connection with the questions affecting the two countries in the Pacific Ocean. England, he said, was willing to waive her rights over the Society Islands, of which Raiatea is one, and the port of Tahiti in favour of France in return for reciprocal advantages. If that was contemplated at that time it would seem to give validity to the statement made in the paper that the reciprocal advantage therein mentioned had been obtained by the giving up of the supposed rights which France possessed of fishing on the banks of Newfoundland. Of course, if this matter has really been effected, this Council would be utterly powerless, I presume, to prevent it or to have it altered. Still, it is one of those matters which it specially devolves upon this Council to take note of. I do not suppose for one moment that the Council would assign to itself the right of protesting or interfering in any way with any Imperial action which might be considered necessary in the interest of the Empire, however much it might be regarded as unfavourable to this portion of the Queen's dominions; but I think the Council will agree with me that no contemplated action of this kind ought to be entered upon without its being first communicated to this Council, in order that we may consider it fairly and fully, and express our opinion upon it By the 29th section of the Enabling Act, under which this Council is formed, it is pointed out that the Council may make such representations or recommendations to Her Majesty as it may think fit with respect to any matters of general Australasian interest, or to the relations of Her Majesty's possessions in Australasia with the possessions of foreign Powers. It may be said that the cession of the island of Raiatea is not a matter page 26 of supreme importance. I would not challenge that, but I do think it is a matter of supreme importance that this Council should keep itself well informed of every event, no matter of what character of an official kind, that is contemplated to be carried out, which affects the relations of these colonies with the islands of the Pacific. It is one of our functions; it is one of the duties which all the Australasian colonies will look to us to perform; and it is for that reason that we ought to seek for fuller information than we now possess on this most important matter. What we want, is to be officially informed. It may be that the Council would authorise the President to telegraph either direct to the Secretary of State for the Colonies, or through His Excellency the Governor, for information of an official character with regard to this statement, so that we may be able, before we separate, to place upon the minutes of our proceeding some expression of opinion with regard to it. I need not remind the Council that what may be done with a comparatively distant and unimportant island to-day, may, if not protested against, be done to some nearer and more important islands in the future—to the New Hebrides, for instance, when there would no doubt be a storm of indignation raised throughout the colonies. With regard to the New Hebrides, the information given to the House of Commons was not at all of a reassuring nature. On the same date as the telegram I last read, we find the following message from London:—"In the House of Commons yesterday the Hon. Evelyn Ashley, the Under-Secretary for the Colonies, declared that the Government would never surrender the New Hebrides to any power that would use them for the reception of convicts." That is not information of a reassuring kind. A promise or pledge of that nature given by France would hardly be considered satisfactory grounds for the cession of the islands. Again, since the convention of Sydney in 1883, we have had the New Guinea fiasco, to inform us as to what can be done by mere diplomacy without the knowledge of the parties most intimately concerned. We had assurances and denials much stronger than anything that has been said with regard cither to the New Hebrides or the Society Islands, and while we were repeatedly assured that Germany had no thought whatever of taking any portion of New Guinea we were surprised one day with intelligence that Germany had sent out a ship of war, and had annexed not only a large portion of New Guinea, but also New Britain, and certain other islands in these seas. This Council, therefore, will have to jealously watch over the interests of Australasia in that direction; and, it appears to me, that the only way to do that effectually is to place ourselves in such relations with the Colonial and, perhaps, Foreign Offices, that we shall be assured of information being sent to us of any contemplated action before such action is beyond our control. We have many matters which we want to settle in a friendly way with France. If we could have secured an absolute pledge that under the new rule convicts would not be sent to New Caledonia, the reciprocal advantage would have been clear to our minds. Under the present arrangement, the only advantage is to a part of the Empire at the other end of the world. I do not think that the public opinion of Australasia will altogether agree with an arrangement of that kind. And that is all the more reason why a contemplated action of that kind should be communicated to this Council before it is carried into effect. I would remind the Council that the Act by which a large portion of New Guinea slipped away from the Crown of England was largely brought about by complications of the Empire with foreign countries, and that action on the part of the Imperial Government with respect to New Guinea was largely induced by corresponding concessions on the part of Germany on other subjects in which the two countries were interested. Therefore, unless this Council at its very initiation takes up a firm position, and a decided attitude we cannot tell but after this session has closed the exigencies of the Empire, or the supposed exigencies of the Empire in the eyes of Imperial statesmen, may be directed to other matters by which further concessions may be made in regard to interests on which the people of these colonies place the greatest importance, and the result of which would only be indicated to us probably when too late for us to take action. I think, Mr. President, you will see my object in bringing this before the Council, not in the way of an alarmist, or with a desire to over-estimate this particular event, supposing it is accomplished, but to place the Council at once at the very earliest moment in its right position. We have powers devolving upon us from the Imperial Government, and one of these is to deliberate and to express our opinions in an official form. The words in the Imperial Act mean a very great deal more power than any of the colonics, or even all the colonies united ever had before they were, as a recognised body, accredited by the Imperial Parliament, and charged with the functions of deliberating and watching over the interests of these communities, with reference to the islands of the Pacific. I think we have sufficient information in regard to Raiatea before us—collected from official information—to enable us to communicate officially in regard to it. With regard to the other island that attention has been called to, I think it will be admitted that this is a far more serious matter for the people of these colonies. Samoa lies within 300 or 400 miles of Fiji, it has commercial relations with that colony, and also very extensive commercial and political relations with the Mother Country and New Zealand. I regret exceedingly that New Zealand is not represented in this Council to take action through her representatives. I believe the position of matters at Samoa is very serious; at all events we have nothing to satisfy our minds that they are not serious. The session of this Council will close in all probability in a few days—it will be a serious matter to call the Council together again for a special session—and I therefore thought that it was necessary at this juncture to call the attention of the Council to the position of affairs in that important island. It will be within the memory of hon. members that about a year ago or a little more something similar occurred to what has occurred recently—the native flag was hauled down and the German flag was planted. Representations were page 27 made, and as far as I can gather from the official documents the remonstrances were effective to this extent, that Germany denied any intention to annex the island, and generally gave assurances that were considered satisfactory by the Colonial Office, and one of the despatches shows that representations had been made by Lord Derby, asking for concessions to British subjects similar to those that had been secured to Germans by a treaty which the German Council had made with the King of Samoa. We do not know to this day whether that was conceded. We do know that Germans were placed in a position of advantage over British subjects, but we do not know whether the result of the representations of the Colonial Office did secure those advantages to British subjects. It is remarkable within so short a period to find that similar action should be taken by Germany—the native flag pulled down, two of the chiefs driven away, the German flag again hoisted, and bloodshed only prevented by the intervention of the British and American consuls. I do not want to lay this paper on the table, because the information it contains has been communicated to the Victorian Government, but I will take the liberty of reading portions of it. Mr. Service sent a telegram to the Agent-General of Victoria, in London, on the 18th January, three days before we left Melbourne, to the following effect:—"Telegram from London to-day says Cologne Gazette infers England would not object German annexation Samoa, and that North German Gazette asserts lowering Samoan flag, ordered by Imperial Government. Warn at once Secretary of State for Colonies, and Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, that such annexation would produce strong disapprobation here. Get other agents to co-operate." That was sent when the alarm was first sounded, and it was justified by a telegram received from the Premier of New Zealand, that country being by no means satisfied with the assurance given at that time. Mr. Service received the following telegram from Mr. Robert Stout, Premier of New Zealand, dated 18th January:—"Thanks for enquiry. We have received certain knowledge of what Germans have done. Two Samoan chiefs have come asking us for aid. The German consul, aided by man-of-war, has driven King from land occupied by him, notwithstanding protests of British and American consuls. But for the intervention of these consuls bloodshed was inevitable. This action is in violation of treaties and convention, and looks like the first step of annexation. We have wired Home Government, who reply that they have Berlin assurances nothing intended, but the German flag still flies in violation of understanding, and it looks as if very little assurance satisfied British Foreign Office. We will be glad of your colony's powerful aid to maintain British interests in Pacific." That illustrates what I have said; there is a pledge that no annexation is intended, but annexation is not done all at once, it is done insidiously, one step after another. Those telegrams are dated the 18th inst., only a few days ago, and, unfortunately, we are not in possession of any later intelligence. I think, however, that the state of affairs, as disclosed, would justify this Council in also asking for information of an exact detailed kind as to the position of affairs, and some assurance that the action of Germany will not only be disavowed by the Imperial German Government, but steps taken to place matters as they were before those events occurred. I do not know, Mr. President, that I have anything more to say. I have made the motion vague purposely for the purpose of discussion, and that the wisdom of this Council may find out some way of indicating what will be the best, most effective, and most dignified mode for this Council to proceed I do not for a moment suppose we should proceed as though the telegraphic intelligence was conclusive, or that the imperfect information we have would justify us in assuming that anything has been done, or contemplated to be done; but I think that there is sufficient in the circumstances surrounding the whole question to induce this Council to seek official information. I think that we are justified in doing that, and if my views are shared by other members of the Council I should propose after this debate has gone on some time to submit a motion in the terms that may be considered most desirable to elicit such information, and take such action as this Council may see fit. I may say before I sit down that, although these questions are scarcely to all appearance so prominent in the public mind as they were a year or so ago, still, as a matter of fact, neither of the great questions that were dealt with at the convention have been settled Nothing has been settled with regard to the annexation of any of the islands by foreign powers which was warmly protested against by the convention, and I take it that this Council will not be less earnest in its defence of Australasian interests than the convention. Nor has anything been settled in regard to the other question of the importation of French criminals in large numbers to the Island of New Caledonia. I will not deal further with that subject now, but I believe before the Council adjourns some late information in regard to the possible intentions of the French Government on that subject will be communicated to this Council. What I want to impress upon the Council in the meantime, is that with regard to the deportation of criminals, and the annexation of islands in the Pacific by Foreign Powers—that neither of these questions nave been satisfactorily settled, that there is as much occasion for vigilance now as ever, and that this Council is in this advantageous position that by Imperial enactment we have the power conferred upon us to watch carefully the interests of Australasia, and the right of making such representations to the Imperial Parliament as may be considered necessary in the interests of these colonies.

The President: I think it would be as well to put the matter before the Council in a formal motion. I would suggest that the motion should take the following shape:—That in the opinion of this Council it is desirable that further information be obtained from official sources with respect to the present position of affairs in the islands of Raiatea and Samoa. If the motion is put in that way, then it would be properly before the Council, and could be discussed.

Mr. Berry: I am in the hands of the Council. I am quite willing, if it is thought proper, to adopt that motion. On consideration I am satisfied that we should go a step page 30 present France had claimed the right of fishing, and sometimes exclusive rights, and the difficulties which had arisen between French and British subjects were very great. The Council has no official information before it as to the more recent negotiations, but we know that negotiations have for a long time been coming in, and that it is a matter which seriously affects the dominion of Canada so that if the English Government have in the interests of the Empire at largo been able to settle such a vexed question by making some concession in regard to the island of Raiatea, I am disposed to think that we shall have little ground for complaint, except, perhaps, that we have not heard of it before. We may very fairly hope that we may in the future know what is going on. This Council, of course, could not be consulted because it was not in existence, and moreover, it is not usual to disclose anything while negotiations are proceeding. Hon. gentlemen must not forget that Newfoundland depends altogether upon its fisheries, and that the satisfactory settlement of such a question is of very great importance to the British Empire. The trouble, too, has been continually getting greater and the seriousness of it has been enhanced by the fact that the population of Canada is not homogenous, and that difficulties are even now threatened between the colonists of English and French descent. Now a word as to the comparative importance of Raiatea as compared with the fisheries in Newfoundland. The distance from Raiatea to Fiji is 1,800 miles, to Brisbane 3,180, to Sydney 3,420, Auckland 2,220, Samoa 1,200, Tonga 1,350, Noumea 2,340, Hawaii 2,220, San Francisco 3,600, Panama 3,660, and Petropauloski 5,040 miles. So it will be seen that Raiatea is nearly as far from us as it is from San Francisco, and it is not at all likely that the occupation of an island only 40 miles in circumference by France will give rise to any danger in so far as the deportation of convicts is concerned. I only state these facts in order to show the public that there is nothing at present to raise alarm, but as it is very desirable, to get further information I support the motion With respect to Samoa, we know nothing at present to give us cause for alarm. We may expect to get information, and we are justified in asking for it. I do not think we shall obtain it during the present session of the Council, for I do not suppose that the Governor of this colony is in the possession of any information which he would be at liberty to communicate. The only way to get immediate information is for independent members of the Council to communicate with their Agents-General in London, which I have already done.

Mr. Douglas said, in speaking to this motion, that it is desirable to obtain further information from official sources with respect to Raiatea and Samoa, there is no necessity for me to go over the ground already traversed by the hon. member for Fiji and the hon, member for Queensland. But I do not see where or who is to obtain this special information, and unless this motion is followed by another we don't know how to proceed. The question comes to be whether this information is to be obtained direct from the Secretary of State for the Colonies, or whether it is to be got through the Governor of the colony, in the same direction. The 29th section of the Imperial Act is to this effect:—"The Council may make such representations or recommendations to Her Majesty as it may think fit with respect to any matters of general Australasian interest, or to the relations of Her Majesty's possessions in Australasia, with the possessions of foreign powers." But there is nothing in the Act which fixes the mode in which these communications are to be made. I presume it is desirable now to decide from what source that information is to be obtained, and placed in the possession of the Council, because, so far as the two questions are concerned with respect to one, it appears to be of no particular importance, and with respect to the other, at the present time we are altogether in ignorance unless we assume to be true all that appears in public prints, which from day to day is somewhat contradictory. If we obtain the information with reference to Samoa and Raiatea during the sitting of the Council, no doubt it would be of great importance, but from the enquiries which have been made, and the statement made to-day, that as regards Raiatea, with the exception of a very excellent port, it was of no great importance, and that as inasmuch the larger island is already in the possession of the French, and the other islands are so small that they would be useless for the deportation of criminals, besides the fact that they already have New Caledonia, to which prisoners are sent, I think this is making a great fuss about nothing at all. I think it is very important that this Council, in dealing with such matters, should satisfy itself that they are of sufficient importance, and not find, after we have interfered, that they are in no way beneficial to the Australian group. If this motion is followed by another as to the mode in which this information is to be obtained, I have no objection to it being carried, inasmuch as the point is how to get the information which is necessary before we make another step. We are entirely in the dark at present, but I shall not attempt to say any more except that I shall be in accord with honourable members in supporting the resolution before the Council.

Mr. Lee Steere said: I shall first address myself to the question, which has just been raised by the honourable member for Tasmania as to the mode of procedure to be adopted by this Council in communicating with the Secretary of State. In my own opinion the intention is to proceed by the President communicating with the Secretary of State for the Colonies without the intervention of the Governor, and it may fairly be inferred from the Act itself that is intended to be the mode of procedure.

Mr. Douglas: No, no.

Mr. Lee Steere: That is my impression. With regard to the matter itself, I am entirely in accord with the proposition, and I think that if the Federal Council is now entrusted with matters of general Australasian importance—and the relations of Australasia with the islands of the Pacific is certainly one of these questions—we have special grounds—as is put by the terms of page 31 this motion—to seek information as to the coarse of proceedings between the Secretary of State for the Colonies and France with reference to these islands. I am not one of those who favour what I might call the Munro doctrine in the South Pacific. I have always had the greatest abhorrence of that doctrine as furnished by America, but I don't think we should stand still with our hands tied when we see foreign powers taking possession of islands, which possession would be antagonistic to the interests of Australasia. With regard to Raiatea my own feeling is that such an arrangement as has been made is more advantageous to Imperial interests than retaining it, and with which we should not appear to interfere. This question of the Newfoundland fisheries difficulty has been of very long standing, and it was only recently that I read in the newspapers an account of conflicts which had taken place between French fishermen and English settlers of Newfoundland, which were likely to create serious complications between France and Great Britain. If England is able to settle this difficulty by an amicable arrangement and acquire possession of the whole Newfoundland coast by the French giving up their rights to the fishery it will be of the utmost advantage to Great Britain, and one which we should not interfere with at all. With regard to Samoa, I am not so well acquainted with the facts of the case. I think it would be most unwise that Germany or any other nation should be allowed to annex it which without doubt would be prejudicial to our interests. I think the motion is one on which all ought to be agreed, and I will most heartily support it.

Mr. Dickson: I must say I have great sympathy with the motion which the hon. member for Victoria has brought forward, notwithstanding the limited amount of information which we possess in connection with this question. I think it is within the functions of the Council that matters affecting the condition of the islands of the Pacific should come under our review, and without any desire to dictate to the Imperial authorities, or even to Imperial statesmen of the Mother Country in their actions in the administration of the Colonial and Foreign Office, still I am inclined to think that by discussions of this sort, we may be able to afford to Imperial statesmen a considerable amount of additional information which they hitherto did not possess, and also tend to show the feelings of the colonies in regard to the ultimate settlement of these islands which in the future will be of great and growing importance. It is a matter of considerable delicacy, and while we desire to give our views concerning the settlement of these islands, we have no wish to dictate such a policy to the Imperial statesmen as will in any way tend to embarrass them in their relation to foreign powers. This resolution has had the very good effect of eliciting from the hon. member for Fiji a very large amount of information, which I am sure will be of great service to us in the future consideration of the condition of these islands. There is a present feeling, Mr. President, in the breast of every colonist who takes an interest in the future of Australia, and in the future of the Archipelagoes of the Pacific, that Imperial statesmen do not make themselves sufficiently acquainted with the views and feelings of the colonists of Australasia—that they do not take into consideration what the future relations may be between the different islands and the important confederation of Australia. There is an uneasy feeling, a feeling of apprehension I may say, that English statesmen, in their endeavours to meet present exigencies, are but too apt to remove those exigencies by the cession of territory in the Pacific of which they have a very imperfect and inadequate knowledge. It is desirable that the views of a Council such as this should, at any rate, be placed on permanent record, and such views may in time be accepted and be desired for the guidance of English statesmen and for their information. With regard to the island of Raiatea, I do not profess to know anything further than has been stated by hon. members, but the transaction does seem to me to be "a new way of paying old debts." Raiatea appears to be ceded as compensation for French claims in the Newfoundland fisheries—a country with which Raiatea has no possible connection whatever. I do not say that the adjustment will not be to the advantage of the Empire, for the question of the Newfoundland fisheries has been a source of great annoyance, embarrassment, and cost for several generations. I have chiefly risen, however, to express my full satisfaction with the motion of the hon. member from Victoria, Mr. Berry. While not caring to enter on debate on what has been done, on account of the limited knowledge we at present possess, I think the Federal Council of Australasia would not be properly discharging its functions if it were not to review the probabilities of the annexation of some of those islands, and the possible disturbance such action might have upon the future relations of Australasia, and the islands of the Pacific. The mode of obtaining the information we seek will no doubt be duly submitted. My opinion is that the proper way to obtain it would be through His Excellency the Governor. (Mr. Griffith: Hear, hear.) Until we get that information we cannot possibly debate the matter further. We have certainly not wasted our time so far, especially as the subject brought forward by the hon. member from Victoria is one of such great importance to the colonies.

Question put and passed.

Mr. Griffith: For the purpose of following up that motion it will be necessary to ask for the information, and that can only be done by communicating with the Imperial Government. With the consent of my friend, Mr. Berry, I therefore beg to propose the following consequential resolution,—"That an address be presented to the Governor of Tasmania, praying that His Excellency will be pleased to communicate the foregoing resolution by telegraph to Her Majesty, and to cause to be laid on the table of this Council such information as may be received by His Excellency." In the British Parliament addresses are of course made direct to Her Majesty. We cannot do so, conveniently in the present case because it would take too long. As to the medium of communication, I have no doubt that the proper medium is the Governor. The Secretary of page 32 State for the Colonies is one of Her Majesty's servants, in the same way as those of us who are Ministers are Her Majesty's servants. But the proper medium of communication between Her Majesty's subjects here and Her Majesty is the Governor; I think there can be no doubt about that. As a matter of fact, the Governor will not communicate with Her Majesty direct, but again through the proper channel of communication, the Secretary of State. It must be remembered that we want the information by telegraph. Whether this is the most felicitous language I am not prepared to say, but that the request should be sent through the Governor I am convinced. Take the case of the Dominion of Canada, with a Parliament analogous in some respects to this Council, but having much greater and more extensive jurisdiction. It communicates not with the Secretary of State, but through the Governor-General of Canada. They may address Her Majesty direct, of course, as any of Her Majesty's subjects may, but it is ordinarily found necessary or convenient, when information is wanted, to seek it through the medium of Her Majesty's representative. I make those observations now to assist hon. members in coining to a conclusion on this point when the proper time arrives. I now move the resolution which I have read.

Mr. Dodds seconded the motion.

Mr. Berry: In view of the urgency of the matter, and the desirability of losing no time in obtaining the information, it may be convenient to accept the resolution moved by the hon. member from Queensland. But, I have gave doubts whether that should be the permanent mode of communication between this Council and the Imperial Government. The Governor of Tasmania has really no special standing in relation to the Federal Council. It merely happens that he is the Governor of the colony in which the Federal Council meets. He has certain legislative functions devolving upon him by the Imperial Act, but his authority goes no further. The question will no doubt be thoroughly discussed on its merits, probably in committee. In the meantime, as we have no standing orders, and no recognised mode of communication with the Imperial Government, I will accept the motion of the hon. member from Queensland on the understanding that the entire question will be dealt with on some subsequent occasion. In that spirit I shall support the motion of the hon. member from Queensland.

Mr. Dodds: I understand from the hon. members who have moved the respective resolutions that there is some difficulty in regard to the proper mode of communication. For my own part I have no hesitation in expressing the view that has been already expressed by the hon. member for Queensland (Mr. Griffith). I think the proper medium of communication between this Council and Her Majesty is the Governor of the colony. I think, also, that it is unnecessary in the terms of our resolution to say so, it would be quite sufficient if the Council were to affirm the desirability, as it has done already, of obtaining information in respect to this matter, and then follow that by a resolution praying that an address may be presented to Her Majesty, asking that such information as she may be graciously pleased to lay before us may be placed on the table. That would be communicated in the ordinary course of things through the proper medium of communication, the Governor. However, as there seems to be some doubt on the question, and hon. members wish more information, I move the adjournment of the debate until to-morrow, with the hope that it be understood by the Council that the remarks made by me to-day do not preclude me from addressing myself to the subject in question, whew it comes up for consideration tomorrow.

Mr. Griffith: There can be no objection to an adjournment if hon. members desire to consider the matter further. The question at issue is whether the communication shall be made through the Governor of this colony, or direct to the Secretary of State. I hope hon. members will carefully consider the subject, and that we shall not make any mistake in coming to a conclusion.

Question,—That the debate be adjourned until next day, put and agreed to.