HC Deb 07 March 1867 vol 185 cc1447-8

said, he would beg to ask the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, Whether certain Despatches respecting the policy of Russia in the East, dated the 20th August, 12th September, 27th October, and 23rd November, 1866, and any other Despatches relating to the same subject, addressed by the Russian Government to the Russian Ambassador in London, have been communicated to Her Majesty's Government; and, if so, whether he will lay them upon the table of the House, together with any Correspondence which may have taken place between Her Majesty's Government and that of Russia with regard to them? He wished also to ask the noble Lord whether he is aware that a Despatch has been communicated by the Russian Consul at Belgrade to the Servian Government in the following terms:— Russia is in nowise disposed to adjourn indefinitely the solution of the Eastern question. She will no longer entertain any idea of a reconciliation between the Turks and Christians. Let the latter obtain their deliverance by arms if they can. Russia will confine herself to watching that the foreign Powers do not intervene in this war between the Porte and its subjects, and should they interfere she would be forced to undertake the active defence of the Christians. Russia desires Turkey in Europe to be replaced by three Federative States—namely, Servia, Roumania, and Greece, with a central Government at Constantinople. He would also ask the noble Lord whether, if be has received a Copy of any such Despatch, he will lay it on the table?


With respect, Sir, to the last Question of the hon. Gentle- man, I can assure him that I have seen no despatch of the Russian Government that at all corresponds with what he has read, and it is not of a nature that if I had seen I should be likely to forget it. As to the first Question, I may say that none of those despatches have been communicated to me in an official manner, though two of them were placed in my hands confidentially, remaining in my possession only for a short time. Under these circumstances, I cannot undertake to lay them upon the table; and I would add that, in the present state of the whole question to which the inquiry of the hon. Gentleman refers, I do not think it would be for the public service that the Correspondence should be produced.