HC Deb 13 February 1871 vol 204 cc171-2

asked the First Lord of the Treasury, Whether Her Majesty's Government are acting in concert with other neutral Powers to secure terms of peace between France and Germany of such moderation as will insure the permanent tranquillity of Europe?


As regards the steps that have been taken by Her Majesty's Government up to the present time, I may refer to the Papers laid upon the Table of the House, or I should rather say, which have been distributed among hon. Members this morning, to which I have only to add that on the 20th of January a Paper posterior to that collection of Papers was framed, in which a suggestion has been conveyed to the German Government that it might with great advantage make known to France the terms of peace upon which they propose to insist. I am not able to say whether any step has been taken by the Prussian Government in consequence of that communication; but with regard to the present and to the future I may state that we are not at this moment acting in concert with the other neutral Powers respecting the terms of peace to be agreed upon. In saying this, I do not in any way intend to recede from the views expressed on Thursday night that the terms of peace are matters of legitimate interest to the neutral Powers; but those who are the primary and chief authorities in framing the terms of peace are the two belligerents; and at the pre- sent moment we have no reason to believe that it is the desire of either of the belligerents that the neutral Powers should take any steps in the matter. Recollecting that we are now within a very few days of the time when a Representative Assembly will meet in France, which will in every sense be qualified to act for the people, I think that the hon. Member will agree with me that it is better not to press this matter further at the present moment.