HC Deb 17 July 1855 vol 139 cc952-3

I wish, Sir, to ask a question of the noble Lord at the head of Her Majesty's Government, of which I lave not given him notice. If, therefore, it is inconvenient for him to answer it now, I will repeat the question on some other occasion. A document has appeared in the public prints purporting to be the declaration of the Austrian Government to the Diet at Frankfort. It is there stated that Austria looks upon the first two points as completely settled at the Conferences of Vienna, and declares she will occupy the Principalities until peace is accomplished; and I understand there is a Commission now sitting at Vienna for the purpose of framing a constitution or some form of Government for the Danubian Principalities. I wish to know whether that statement is correct, and whether there has been any protest by Her Majesty's Government or Lord Clarendon against any arrangement being come to at Vienna on the part of a number of Moldavian and Wallachian gentlemen; and, if so, whether a copy of that protest can be laid on the table of the House?


Sir, I have not seen the papers to which the hon. Member refers, but I think I can answer his question. Certain arrangements were provisionally agreed to at the Vienna Conferences, with the clear understanding that they were parts of the whole, and Her Majesty's Government consider themselves free as regards the parts until the whole shall be settled, although, of course, we shall adhere to the principles on which the Four Points were founded. The treaty arrangements were only provisionally agreed to, and the two Governments of France and England must be free when they come to enter again into negotiations with regard to any arrangements to be made on those points. With respect to the intentions of Austria with regard to the occupation of the Principalities, the hon. Member and the House know that Austria has engaged by treaty with Turkey to defend the Principalities from any attack by Russia; therefore the occupation, whatever it be, can only be for the purpose of preventing any new invasion of the Principalities by Russia. As to any Commission sitting at Vienna, I am wholly ignorant of it. It is obvious that no Commission can be sitting with authority at Vienna, because the parties between whom arrangements for a peace should be made are the parties who would have to contract a treaty of peace—namely, Turkey, England, and France, on the one hand, with Austria, so far as she has entered into engagements, and Russia on the other. As to any protest against arrangements provisionally entered into, I am not aware that any has been made.