HC Deb 15 March 1836 vol 32 cc332-4
Lord Mahon

, seeing the noble Lord, the Secretary for Foreign Affairs, in his place, wished to ask him a question relative to negotiations which had been some time since set on foot respecting the dispute between Spain and her South American colonies. It would be in the recollection of the House, that two Commissioners (Generals Soublette and O'Leary) had arrived in London on their way to Madrid, and had been most kindly received, and assisted with advice, by the Duke of Wellington, and had received every encouragement to effect the object of their mission. The last advices received in reference to this subject represented the negotiations as entirely broken off. This was a subject, he need hardly observe to the House, of the utmost importance to even our trade and commerce, and he had hoped that the noble Lord's assistance would have sufficed to have brought the negotiation to a satisfactory termination, He wished to ask the noble Lord if he had received any official information upon this subject, and if there was any prospect of a favourable result?

Viscount Palmerston

could assure the noble Lord, that his Majesty's present advisers were quite as anxious that the negotiation referred to should be brought to a satisfactory termination as were the Government of which the noble Lord had been a Member. It was quite obvious that the termination of disputes between Spain and her colonies was most desirable for many reasons, besides that which affected the commerce carried on by and with these countries. It was quite true, as the noble Lord had stated, that Generals Soublette and O'Leary had arrived in London, and proceeded to Madrid, on the subject of the negotiation which had been referred to. General Santa-Maria had also arrived in London, and had gone to Madrid, to take part, on behalf of Mexico, in the negotiation; and as far as a Minister of Great Britain could take part in it, by the interposition of his friendly offices, Mr. Villiers had interfered; and in so doing, only acted in perfect conformity with the instruction of the Government he represented. The part he had taken, however, was necessarily unofficial—the interference of a friend of both parties. He had at present no reason to believe that the negotiation was broken off. It was in some degree connected with a communication made by the Government to the Cortes; for the Government, instead of concluding a treaty on the part of the Crown, preferred making this communication to the Cortes. The dissolution of that body had interrupted the progress of the negotiation; but he had good reason to hope that, when they re-assembled, it would be brought to a satisfactory termination.