HC Deb 06 August 1866 vol 184 c2096

said, he would beg to ask the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, Whether there is any ground for the apprehensions that have been lately expressed by Signor Bianconi, a Member of the Italian Parliament, as to an intention on the part of the French Government to acquire a portion of the territory of Italy? When Baron Ricasoli, replying on the 15th of July to Signor Bianconi's inquiry, whether negotiations were in progress to cede to France a portion of Italian territory to the east of Genoa, used such terms as these, the matter would appear to be serious— As long as I remain in the Government, and as long as I live, I cannot conceive the possibility of Italy losing one inch of her territory. It was extremely likely, nevertheless, that an attempt to obtain some Italian territory had recently been made. We know by what insidious means France obtained some territory from Italy a few years ago, and how it was denied up to the last moment that negotiations were in progress between France and Italy for that purpose. In consequence of Baron Ricasoli's statement, he would therefore beg to ask the noble Lord, Whether he is cognizant of any pressure having been lately put on the Italian Government by the French Government for the purpose of obtaining for France a portion of Italian territory? He must apologize to the noble Lord for not giving him notice of his Question; and, of course, the noble Lord would give whatever answer he pleased.


I am not able to give the hon. Member the information he seeks.