HC Deb 11 July 1851 vol 118 cc566-8

wished to ask the noble Lord the Foreign Secretary—first, whether any steps had been taken by the Government with regard to the proposed conference at Paris on the law of quarantine in the Mediterranean; secondly, whether any thing had been done respecting the settlement of the claims of Greece; and, thirdly, whether he proposed to lay on the table the orders, and returns to the orders, passed by the House as to the Turco-Persian frontier?


said, in answer to the first question of the hon. Gentleman, that the Government had been invited some months ago by the Government of Prance to take part in certain conferences to be held somewhere in Prance, probably in Paris, on the subject of quarantine, to which conferences all States having territories bordering on or within the Mediterranean were invited to take part. Her Majesty's Government were sensible of the extreme importance of the matter, and were very anxious to obtain certain modifications and improvements in the existing regulations of the law of quarantine, and, therefore, had no hesitation in accepting that invitation. The conference was to be held in the course of a few days, he believed, at Paris, and the Government had appointed a medical man and a consular officer to attend it. As to the claims on Greece, they were all settled last year, with the exception of that of Don Pacifico, on account of alleged losses occasioned by the destruction at Athens of certain documents connected with claims he purported to have against the Government of Portugal. The House would remember that the principle laid down by the British Government on the matter was, that to whatever extent Don Pacifico could show that he had been prevented, by the loss in question, from substantiating any claims of his against the Portuguese Government, to that extent the Greek Government was bound to indemnify him. This principle had been adopted by the Government of Greece and by the Government of France, and accordingly Commissioners on the part of England, France, and Greece respectively, had met at Lisbon, where, after close inquiry, they found that all the documents upon which Don Pacifico grounded his claim, existed, in original or in duplicate, in the archives of Lisbon, so that the destruction of any copies at Athens did not at all prevent Don Pacifico from substantiating his claim. The Commissioners, however, in consequence of the inconvenience and expense to which Don Pacifico had been subjected in prosecuting the matter, recommended that a sum of 150l. should be paid to him by the Greek Government, which sum Don Pacifico had accordingly received. As to the hon. Gentleman's third question, he rather thought that the papers the hon. Gentleman sought had been already presented; but, if not, they should be laid on the table.