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asked the Assistant Postmaster-General why, in view of Section 34 (2) (a) of the Post Office Act, 1908, as amended by the Post Office (Amendment) Act, 1935, an aeroplane company, of which he has been informed, which recently sent a helicopter on a sales demonstration tour conveying greetings from the Lord Mayor of Bristol to the Lord Mayors of the cities visited, in some cases landing in front of their respective town halls, have been informed that they have committed a breach of the Postmaster-General's monopoly for the conveyance of mail; and if he will take no further steps to interfere with such enterprises, in view of their publicity value.
There was no wish on the part of the Post Office either to be officious or to detract from the publicity value of this goodwill enterprise, but strictly speaking a technical offence had been committed and in such cases it is customary for advice to be given in a friendly way to the promoters. There is of course no question of taking proceedings in this case.
Subsection (2, a) of Section 34 of the Post Office Act, 1908 only refers to letters sent by a private friend on his journey, and is not applicable to a case of this sort. Subsection (3) of that Section, as amended by the Post Office (Amendment) Act, 1935, expressly forbids the carrying of letters by pilots or passengers on board aircraft passing between, to, or from places within a British postal country.
The monopoly of carrying Her Majesty's mails, dates back some three hundred years, and I need not trouble the House either with its subsequent history or the reason for its maintenance.