HC Deb 26 May 1865 vol 179 cc877-8

said, he would beg to ask the First Lord of the Treasury, Whether, looking to the changed aspect of affairs in America, Her Majesty's Government, either separately or in conjunction with the Government of the United States, will consider the propriety of sending a squadron to the coast of Cuba, for the purpose of preventing the importation of slaves into that island, and thereby effectually putting an end to the African Slave Trade?


Sir, some time ago Her Majesty's Government invited the Government of the United States to co-operate with them on the coast of Africa by sending out a squadron for the purpose of preventing the slave trade from being carried on. The American Government professed their perfect willingness to co-operate, but a difficulty arose in regard to the regulations then subsisting with respect to our neutral position on the one hand, and the admission of belligerent ships of war into our ports on the other. That difficulty could not be well overcome at the time. But in the present altered state of things in America Her Majesty's Government have renewed their applications to the United States, and have represented that their cruisers, employed for the purpose to which I have referred, would, of course, be received with every privilege and courtesy which are due to the cruisers of friendly nations. The difficulty which prevented the co-operation of the two countries some time ago is no longer an obstacle. No communication has been received from the United States with respect to a squadron at Cuba; but, if they assent to the arrangement respecting the West coast of Africa, no doubt they will cooperate with us regarding Cuba.