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PRO-GERMANS

DEPUTATION TO MAYOR,

ASKING FOR SUPERVISION

To-day Mr C. A. Hutton, secretary of the Dunedin Municipal Association, and Dr Gordon Macdonald, vice-president of that body, interviewed the Mayor (Mr Shacklock) by appointment. Mr Huxton said that tho matter oy proGermans came up at the meeting of tho executive of the Municipal Association, and the opinion was expressed that it was a matter of supreme importance. 1 rom the reports in the Press as to the recent captures by tho Kmdeu, it appeared that the information leading io the captures had come largely from German residents in India and Ceylon. In yiew of these goings-on in other countries, the executive of the association, and he thought he was quite safe in saying of a majority of the citizens of Dunedin as well, n ere of opinion that some proper supervision should be insisted on to cover the movements and actions of German resident? in this City. Hence the deputation to the chief magistrate of the City, it might be said that it was a matter for the mil'.tnrv. But tho executive ’ vf the astociation thought it was a question of public safety, nnd that someone should make a move. It had been said that ’.here was German monev at the back of some of the firms carrying on business hero. He (Mr Hutton)'had searched the titles of one or two of the registered companies .and the results were staggering. One. company had German capital invested In it to ckse on £IOO,OOO. He included in that the capital invested by German residents in New Zealand, who might he naturalised However, he had it ns a fact that £32,700 of Gorman capital was invested direct from Germany. The company ha was referring to recently declared a dividend of 7 per cent., or about £2,150. Tho question was what was to become of that money? Wac it to go to Germany? Or was it t> lie to the credit of German subjects until the war was over, and then be sent to Germany? Ho thought that should not be allowed. It amounted practically to trading with the enemy, for the New Zealand public to bo still doing business with that company. Further, a good deal of the money raised for the patriotic fund had been expended with this firm. That was not as it should be. Tho association did not want to take up a personal attitude against any person or firm, but ho mentioned this case as an example. Also, it was (found that Germans—possibly naturalised—were handling the money raised for patriotic purposes. Ho held that this money should be 'handled wholely and solely by British-horn subjects. The deputation did not want to intlict hardship upon German residents, but they could not get away from the fact that hardships were being indicted on our countrymen in Europe. He would ask aGo whether tho naturalised Germans were still reporting themselves to the authorities. Then, as to the German Consul here, ho (Mr Hutton) understood that he had resigned. He had recently returned, we did not known with what information, but ho was still in our midst. Ho-did net know whether tho Consul was naturalised or not. It was also reported from good sources that the correspondence of German films was being made up into bundles and sent to neutral pons for distribution. Ho asked that steps be taken to stop this from being done, and the deputation asked .Mr Shack” Jock what position he, as chief magistrate, was prepared to take in regard to the other questions. Dr Macdonald endorsed what AH Hutton had said. He would not like to show harshness to foreigners, for thev were our guests to some extent, and we" should not be rude to a guest unless the guest was r.ule to begin with. But when it ;ame to war, sentiment must bo tluown wide, and we must act as on a war footing. There were many Syrians in Dunedin. and he knew many of them, and :ou!d vouch that the great hulk were as anti-Tuikish as anyone could be. Besides, they were mostly poor and ignorant, and he did_ not. think we need trouble our heads about them. However, that did not apply io the Germans. We had a lino intelligent body of Germans here. The Mayor said that it seemed to him a rather delicate proposition, and ho thought it was one over which he really had no jurisdiction. As to the position of dividends by so-called German linns, lie did not know

Mr Hutton banded His Worship, in confidence, the return which was quoted from.

Th? Mayer .said he had no reason to doubt that the list was coirect up to quite a recent date, hut he was told that firms who had German money were ordered to return it about the date of the outbreak of the war.

Air Hutton: I got this list from the registrar of companies, «*mtl it was deposited last Saturday. The Mayor: Well, that was what he was told, and that since then this firm had told their friends that they have no German money. If they wanted to send German money to Germany he doubted whether any hank would remit it. in the meantime at any rate.

Tho Town 01<*rk ?aid he had been in formed that a Christchurch firm had been told that they could not remit till the end of the war.

Tho Mayor said that was his impression ; that the money so held would come in with the settlement after the war. So far as individual members of German firms were concerned, he knew very well that there was a certain section of tho Dunedin public whom nothing would satisfy short of putting the conspicuous leaders in gaol. He did not know how it was proposed to do it, for the bulk of these men were naturalised British snh-jf-ts, and some who were the most spoken against were born in British territory. He took it that when a person became naturalised he could not be touched. Mr Hutton : ‘Wo do not advocate gaoling. but a system of supervision. The Town Clerk: Every naturalised British subject has the same rights as you or me.

Mr Hutton: But if he is a traitor? Tlie Town; A man don’t need to be a foreigner to be a traitor. The Mayor said that as for the German Consul, ho did not know whether consuls were supposed to leave British territory on the outbreak of war. and he did not know whether the consul had resigned. If correspondence was being sent to neutral ports, as stated, the Post Office authorities should act. Tho Town Clerk: If Mr Hutton has such evidence! it should lie sent to the Government. Tho Mayor said that he did not mind writing to'the Postmaster-General on that subject. Personally he would be sorry to think that any German, resident of Dunedin would ho so disloyal as to give information to our enemies.- In the meantime, he had no indication of their being anything but loyal. Mr Sutton went on to apeak of certain rumors he had heard.

The Mayor: A lot of rumors are flying about that cannot be substantiated. I will 1 think over these matters, but in the mean-. time I am afraid that in connection with i these German questions lam helpless. I am hedged about bv the Act. My juristiction is defined. It seems to me that if ' any German residents are guilty of treason the evidence should be given to the police, and then the guilty parties would at once be put under surveillance. It is not. I think, a matter for the Mayor to move in. Di Macdonald: Well, sir, we have done aor duty, and wo are satisfied with your reply. [

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Permanent link to this item

https://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/newspapers/ESD19141110.2.31

Bibliographic details

PRO-GERMANS, Evening Star, Issue 15646, 10 November 1914

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1,302

PRO-GERMANS Evening Star, Issue 15646, 10 November 1914

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