HC Deb 09 May 1851 vol 116 cc769-71

begged to ask the noble Lord the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs a question, of which he had given notice, with respect to the delay in the evacuation of the Danubian Principalities. About six weeks ago, he asked the noble Lord whether any understanding had been come to between the Turkish and Russian Governments with respect to the withdrawal of their troops from the Danubian Principalities. The noble Lord then stated that no conditions had been come to between these two Powers, because a treaty made about two years since provided for the withdrawal of the troops whenever tranquillity should be restored, and that by a convention between these Powers a body of the troops which had occupied the Principalities should remain on their frontiers for a certain time, in order to enter the Danubian Principalities again, if fresh disturbances should break out there. He wished to know whether the stipulations to which the noble Lord had referred were a part of the treaty as published to the world, or were secret conditions annexed to it? The noble Lord had also stated on a former occasion that the English Government supported the Porte in a desire to set free the Hungarian refugees; he therefore wished to ask his Lordship whether it was true that after a conference held between the English and French Ministers at Constantinople with the Government of the Porte, it had been decided to prolong still further the confinement of the refugees?


I am not aware of any concert between the Turkish and Russian Governments with regard to the Danubian Principalities, except the treaty to which reference has been made, and the contents of which were published to the world. There has, however, been frequent communications between the Turkish and Russian Governments with regard to the period of the evacuation of the Danubian provinces by the Russian and Turkish troops; and the last account I have received with respect to that evacuation was by a despatch dated 17th of April, which stated that a certain number of Russian troops had already commenced retiring from the territory in question, and it was expected that in about a fortnight from that time the whole or the greater part of the Russian troops would have evacuated Wallachia. It was understood also that the evacuation by the Turkish troops would take place simultaneously with that by the Russians. When I state that the Russian Government proposes to keep a force on the frontier in order to be ready in case of a fresh emergency, of course it must be assumed that any fresh occupation of the provinces will be the subject of a fresh communication between the two Governments. With regard to the liberation of the remaining Hungarian refugees, I am concerned to say that, as yet, the endeavours of the English and French Governments to obtain their liberation has not been successful. It is not true, however, that there has been a meeting between the English and French Ambassadors, and the Turkish Government, which has resulted in the British Government acquiescing in any arrangements for the continued detention of the refugees. By the last accounts from Constantinople, I understand that the Turkish Government had not decided upon the immediate release of the refugees, and that it was proposed that some longer period of detention, whatever that might ultimately he, should he enforced, as the result of communications which had passed between the Governments of Turkey and Austria.

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