HC Deb 04 July 1861 vol 164 cc303-4

said, he rose to ask the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, Whether he can give the House any information with reference to a statement which appeared in the Official Journal of Madrid on the 29th day of June, stating that the Spanish Government had resolved to abandon its Claim against Morocco, and to declare Tetuan the property of Spain? He could hardly believe that statement to be true. He recollected perfectly well a year and a half ago the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Buckinghamshire being misled by a telegraphic dispatch, and being taunted by right hon. Members on the Treasury bench with believing it. He (Sir Robert Peel) did not know whether the present statement was true or not; but it was so contrary to the assurances of the Spanish Government with regard to Morocco that he thought it of great importance that the noble Lord should reply in a satisfactory manner to the statement. The noble Lord had distinctly declared that "the occupation of that portion of the territory of Morocco imperilled the fortress of Gibraltar." Those were his very words. The words he made use of in writing to Mr. Buchanan at Madrid were— You will, therefore, be instructed to obtain a declaration in writing that if the Spanish troops, in the course of hostilities against Algiers or Morocco, make any occupation of territory it will not be for longer than the ratification of the treaty of peace, since an occupation till an indemnity should be paid may become dangerous, and Her Majesty's Government would consider it inconsistent with the safety of our occupation of Gibraltar. He trusted the noble Lord would assure the House that the statement to which he referred was not founded on fact?