HC Deb 13 February 1871 vol 204 c169

asked the First Lord of the Treasury, Whether there is any ground whatsoever for the published statement that the German military authorities are placing impediments in the way of importing provisions into Paris?


It is not in my power to give more than an imperfect answer to the Question of the hon. Member. Undoubtedly, to my great regret, the Government have heard that there have been very considerable impediments placed in the way of transporting provisions to Paris; but we have received no information to justify us in placing the responsibility for those impediments upon the Prussian military authorities. The latest information, in fact, that we have received is from Captain Cowen, who was at Havre yesterday, and who stated that provisions could not pass by rail either to Paris or to Rouen, but that they were being sent by river; that every effort would be made by him, and that he was going to Rouen to see the Prussian commandant there upon the subject. In the meantime a telegram was sent by the Foreign Office to Versailles to lay the difficulties in the way of the transit of provisions to Paris before the Prussian military authorities, and to beg that they might be removed as far as lay in their power. I may, however, say that in a country devastated by war the state of the railways and of the rolling stock may account for the circumstances which we all so deeply regret.