HC Deb 17 March 1864 vol 174 c188

I wish, Sir, to ask the noble Lord at the head of the Government, Whether any arrangement has been come to with the other leading European Governments in respect to the proposed Conference on the Danish Question; and, if so, when the Conference is likely to meet? Perhaps the noble Lord will also state, supposing a Conference has been arranged, on what basis the parties will negotiate—whether it will be the uti possidetis, or the basis mentioned in the Despatch of Earl Russell which is given towards the end of the recently published Blue Book?


Sir, Her Majesty's Government, as is well known, have obtained the consent of Austria and Prussia to a Conference, and we are waiting for an official answer from Denmark upon the same question. We have good reason to believe, however, that Denmark will consent to the Conference, though we have not yet received any official intimation to that effect. With respect to the basis mentioned by the noble Lord opposite—uti possidetis—that refers rather to an armistice than to a Conference. What we have proposed is — whereas it was found impossible to bring the parties to agree to an armistice upon any terms likely to be accepted by both, we suggested a Conference without an armistice, trusting that when the Conference met, the first question it would have to consider would be the establishment of an armistice. What the basis will be is, of course, a matter for subsequent consideration; but I wish the House to understand that the state of the matter at present is, that we have good reason to hope that we shall get from the Danish Government a consent to the Conference.