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Thursday, 21 April 1904

Mr DEAKIN (BALLAARAT, VICTORIA) (Minister for External Affairs) - - Honorable members will recollect that in the last session of last Parliament a proposal for a Conference in relation to the Pacific Cable emanated from the Dominion- of Canada and New Zealand. The Government thought such a Conference unnecessary, but finally agreed to be represented upon it. Since then, in spite of repeated telegrams, we have been unable to learn either the date of the Conference, the number of representatives to be allotted to each of the interested parties, or, definitely, all the business to be dealt with. It is only a few days since, in response to an urgent cablegram, I received the information from London that they were still awaiting a reply from the Dominion of Canada which would convey the wishes of that Government upon the subject, and that the Government of Canada had been asked to make their reply a matter of urgency. 1 am not aware that it has yet been received.

Mr JOSEPH COOK (PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES) - Nor is any reply likely.

Mr DEAKIN - The Government of Canada asked for the Conference, so that a reply was expected long ago.

Mr JOSEPH COOK (PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES) - They asked for it before this Government entered into an agreement with the Eastern Extension Telegraph Company.

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