HC Deb 02 May 1856 vol 141 cc1908-9

Sir, I asked a question last night of the noble Lord at the head of the Government with reference to a statement that appeared in the report of the Conferences at Paris upon a point of much importance. In reply, the noble Lord gave the House to understand that the discussion with respect to the re-erection of the Russian forts on the eastern coast of the Black Sea was never resumed. I then asked if, under the treaty which had heen signed, Russia would have the power of re-erecting those forts or not? To that question the noble Lord gave no answer; but subsequently, in the course of the debate, the right hon. Baronet the Member for Carlisle (Sir J. Graham) expressed a very strong and decided opinion that, under the terms of the treaty, Russia would not have that right. I therefore wish again to put the question, and to ask whether, under the terms of the treaty, Russia has or has not the right to re-erect those forts on the eastern coast of the Black Sea?


Sir, the stipulation of the treaty in regard to the re-erection of works applies to naval arsenals. The treaty distinctly stipulates that there shall be no naval arsenals restored or constructed within the waters of the Black Sea. The forts on the Circassian coasts do not come within that description; and there is also this distinction between them and naval arsenals, that whereas a naval arsenal is a centre of offence, those forts were simply defensive works for the protection of the small garrisons placed there. There is nothing in the treaty which would preclude the Russian Government from exercising its own discretion with regard to the re-erection of those military forts.

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