HC Deb 14 May 1840 vol 54 cc74-6
Sir Stratford Canning

wished to ask the noble Lord, the Secretary of Slate for Foreign Affairs, some questions respecting our relations with Persia. It was not necessary for him to preface his questions with any remarks, as the questions were sufficiently minute; but he begged to say, that it was a subject of great importance to our commercial interests, and was rendered more important by the doubtful stale of our relations with foreign powers. The questions which he would ask were—What was the present character of our relations with the court of Persia? Supposing our friendly relations with that court to be suspended, what were the negotiations, if any, that were going on for a restoration of those friendly relations? Whether there was any difficulty; and if any, what difficulty that retarded the progress of those negotiations; and had they arisen since the gracious intimation conveyed in her Majesty's speech from the throne, that there was a prospect of a speedy renewal of our relations? And, lastly, whether an early removal of those difficulties was contemplated by her Majesty's Government? The noble Lord could answer these questions first, and upon his answer would depend the necessity of asking anything further.

Viscount Palmerston

could reply to the questions very shortly. The present state of our relations with the court of Persia was exactly the same as it was last year. The state of our relations was precisely this. The right hon. Gentleman and the House knew that last summer a special envoy came here from the court of Persia. The Government did not think it right to enter into any negotiations with the envoy, but a memorandum was sent by him (Viscount Palmerston) to that person, distinctly stating the demands of the Government. To that memorandum he had received a reply on the 26th of December, which was not perfectly satisfactory, as be had already staled to the House. In general terms the demands of the Government were acceded to; but the reply then went into details as to the manner in which the demands were to be executed, and on one or two points of the details as to the execution, did not correspond with the demands of the Government. It then became his duty to send a reply. That reply was forwarded on the 18th January, and would have been received in Persia in the month of March; but he had not as yet received any answer. The hon. Gentleman would therefore see that negotiations were in progress to bring about an adjustment of the differences between the two countries. Nothing had happened since the delivery of her Majesty's most gracious speech to diminish the hope of the Government, as expressed in the speech from the Throne, as to the chance of an amicable settlement, because the last communication from the court of Persia went to the extent of stating generally a desire to comply with our demands. He might answer at the same time another question which the right hon. Gentleman intended to put, and say that our mission at Erzeroom was ready to return to Persia as soon as the negotiations had been completed.

Sir S. Cannning

inquired whether Mr. M'Neil was still the envoy in our service?

Viscount Palmerston

said, that Mr. M'Neill was still employed by the Government; but he was now away on a leave of absence which he obtained last year.

Sir S. Canning

would ask further, whether the import trade between India and Persia was still open, and subject to consular protection?

Viscount Palmerston

said, that we had still a consulate officer at Teflis, and he was not aware of any interruption of the trade. The attachés sent from India had returned; but there were one or two others sent from this country, of whom one was still at Erzeroom, and the other had returned to England.

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