HC Deb 28 April 1843 vol 68 cc1028-9
Mr. D'Israeli

rose to ask her Majesty's Government a question in relation to a series of diplomatic occurrences which had taken place at Constantinople, concerning Servia, and in which the honour of this country was concerned. If the House would permit him, he would explain the circumstances. [" No, no."] He felt a necessity to give a simple statement of the circumstances on which his inquiry was founded, otherwise it would not be understood. The House was aware that the cabinet of St. Petersburg wished to interfere with the domestic arrangements of a province of Turkey, which had engendered a dispute between the cabinets of Constantinople and St. Petersburg. There was no doubt, that official information of these circumstances had been received by her Majesty's Ministers, but the public had intelligence, in an authentic shape, that, on the 2nd instant, the Russian ambassador, accompanied by Prince Lieven and the first dragoman of the Russian Legation, had waited on the Reis Effendi, the foreign minister of the Porte, and had delivered to him a message to intimidate the Porte. On April 3rd, he was informed that a despatch arrived at Constantinople from Prince Metternich, recommending the Porte to comply with the demands of the Russian cabinet. He had no doubt, that the right hon. Gentleman was acquainted with these negotiations and with the proceedings of the Russian minister. He was persuaded, that no negotiations were permitted to be carried on without being made known to this country. He asked, them, whether the right hon. Gentleman had any official notification of these negotiations, and, if he had, whether it were consistent with his duty to give any information to the House on the subject. He was sure, that the right hon. Gentleman would not desert an old and oppressed ally, and that he would, according to existing treaties, maintain the integrity of the Turkish empire.

Sir Robert Peel

found it inconsistent with his duty to answer the question of the hon. Member. He was required to assume that a certain message had been delivered; he was to assume that Prince Metternich had sent a certain despatch, which had arrived at Constantinople on a certain day, and that certain urgent measures had been adopted. The negotiation with respect to Servia would probably be brought to a close at an early period, and when brought to a close would be the proper time for her Majesty's Government to give it their attention. He declined entering into the subject now; the negotiation was still pending, and when it was brought to a close, and not earlier, it might be a subject of discussion.