asked the Secretary of State for War whether His Majesty's Government are contemplating the transfer to the Civil Government of Malta of lands hitherto under control of the War Department, and let by them on lease on encroachment terms for purposes such as seamen's rests, soldiers' and sailors' homes, hospitals, and the like; and whether, in that event and before such transfer, all holders of such leases will be guaranteed by the British Government undisturbed occupation of the sites on the same conditions as heretofore?
The War Department is at present in occupation of certain lands which are the property of the Civil Government, and the question of which of these lands shall be surrendered to the Civil Government has recently been the subject of arbitration. I understand that the arbitrator's award has now been received by the Colonial Office, but I have had no opportunity yet of examining its contents. It is possible, however, that the award will involve the surrender of land on which some of the encroachments in question have been erected. If so, it will be necessary for the occupiers to make their own arrangements with the Civil Government. All that the War Department could do would be to ask the Civil Government to give the occupiers all possible consideration.