§ MR. EASTWICK
, in rising to call attention to the state of affairs in Persia; and to move—That, in the opinion of this House, it is expedient that the recommendation of the Diplomatic Committee of last year be carried out, viz., that the control of our relations with Persia be transferred to the India Office, or that the payments for the expenses of our mission to Persia be readjusted.said, the subject was carefully weighed by a Select Committee of this House last Session. The evidence of Lord Malmesbury, of Lord Derby, of Lord Lawrence, and of Lord Mayo—whose opinion was given in writing—of Sir Henry Rawlinson—the greatest living authority on all matters connected with Persia—of the hon. Member for Chatham (Mr. Otway)—who was at that time Under Secretary for Foreign Affairs—and of Sir John Kaye, was strongly in favour of the transfer being made; while that of Lord Halifax, Sir Henry Bulwer, Mr. Hammond, and Lord Clarendon went to show that things should remain as they were now. Sir Henry Bulwer's opinion, however, was qualified in this manner—My idea in regard to the Persian Mission is, that it is better to leave it under the Foreign Office; but that the Foreign Office ought to consult the India Office, and that great deference should be paid to their recommendation as to the class of persons best fitted to be employed there;and Lord Halifax thought that the payment made by India towards the expense 1084 of our Mission should be diminished, and that from the Imperial Treasury proportionately increased, so that the status quo was advocated only by Lord Clarendon and Mr. Hammond. The Select Committee, after balancing the opinions of those distinguished men, came to the almost unanimous conclusion that—While they have received conflicting evidence of the highest authority on either side of the question, they on the whole incline to the opinion that the Persian Mission should be placed under the authority of the Secretary of State for India; but that if the responsible Advisers of the Crown decide that such change is not for the public interest, they recommend that the members of the Persian Mission generally should be selected by the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs from Her Majesty's Indian Service, and that the present charge of £12,000 a-year on the Indian Revenues, for the expense of such Mission, should be diminished so as to throw a larger proportion of the expense upon the Imperial Revenues.Lord Granville, so far from carrying out those recommendations, had acted in direct opposition to them, and the subject, therefore, now assumed a more serious and important aspect than ever, for it was not now simply a question whether the India Office or the Foreign Office should deal with Persian matters, but also whether a Select Committee having decided in favour of one view, it was competent to the Secretary of State not only to disregard that view, and neglect every part of the recommendation, but even act in the utmost possible opposition to it. Even that was not all, and it would be his painful duty to show to the House that the action taken by Lord Granville in this matter, quite independently of considerations adduced before the Committee, had been in the highest degree unwise and impolitic. Having been compelled to make this serious charge against the policy of a Minister, for whom personally he had the highest respect, he trusted the House would allow him to go fully into the matter, for without doing so it would be impossible for him to completely substantiate his statement. He might also say that he had no opportunity of giving evidence before the Committee; and although, in general, he should be quite content to rely on the statements of such men as those whose names he had mentioned, yet, as was said in the Ethics—"Each judges well the thing he knows;" and he might say, without presumption, that in the matter of which he was now 1085 speaking, he had had special opportunities of knowing. For five years he was employed in the Indian diplomatic service on the frontier of Khelat and Afghanistan, and hence became practically acquainted with the border politics of those countries, including Persia. He was Assistant Secretary in the Secret Department of the India Office during the whole time that Department had charge of Persian affairs. Subsequently he was employed by the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs on a special service connected with Persia in this country, and was then appointed by him Secretary of Legation at Tehran. He remained three years in Persia, and was sent on two special missions there, first to the Caspian Provinces and then to Khorasan. Finally, he had the honour of being Chargé d' Affaires and of negotiating a Convention, in the first instance personally with the Shah. He might add that he was, he believed, the only Indian officer appointed to diplomatic service in Persia by the Foreign Office. On those grounds he trusted that he should be allowed to travel a little beyond the pages of the Blue Book, so as to place the subject he had in hand fully before the House, and he entreated the House to consider that it was a subject which deserved the most serious attention, lest that "great and fatal error" spoken of by Malcolm's biographer should be perpetuated, "from which," to use his words, "have already sprung disasters and disgraces, to be succeeded, it is feared, by other evils of a no less melancholy kind." The history of our relations with Persia was unique in diplomatic annals on account of the strange way in which the control of those relations had been shifted again and again from the East India Company to the Crown, and from the Foreign Office to the India Office, and vice versâ. Not to dwell, however, too much on these changes, he would divide the whole period of our connection with Persia into three epochs. The first, and by far the longest, was that in which the management of our affairs in Persia was left almost entirely in the hands of the East India Company. During the second the Foreign Office for the most part controlled our relations with Persia, but was content to leave Indian officers at the head of our Mission in Tehran, while since the third epoch it had not only 1086 maintained such control, but had appointed to the Mission its own officers. In dealing with the first epoch, he would begin by referring to some remarks which he addressed to the House on the affairs of Central Asia on the 9th of July, 1869. He then pointed out that Persia was our oldest ally in the East, and on that account, as well as others, deserved consideration. Disregarding a letter which Queen Elizabeth on the 25th of April, 1561, confided to Anthony Jenkinson, merchant, and which was addressed to Shah Tamasp, but produced no results, he might say that the first epoch commenced with the arrival of the valiant knights, Sir Anthony and Sir Robert Shirley, and their followers, at the Court of Shah Abbas the Great in 1602, about three-quarters of a century before we established relations with Turkey. Persia was then a formidable Power, and so far from "the Bactrian Sophi," as Milton called the Shah, "retreating from the horns of the Turkish Crescent to Tauris or Kasvin," Abbas inflicted on the Turks, on the 24th of August, 1605, near Tauris, or Tabriz, one of the most sanguinary defeats they ever sustained, more than 20,000 Turkish heads having been brought to him on the field of battle. An alliance was then formed between Abbas and the East India Company, and in 1622 their joint forces wrested the Island of Hormuz, or Ormus, as Milton called it, from the Portuguese, and transferred its great and flourishing trade to Gombroon, which has ever since borne the name of Bandar Abbas, or the port of Abbas. Two years after Sir Robert Shirley was sent by Abbas to the Court of James I., and Sir Dodmore Cotton came from Charles I. on a return embassy to Persia, but both Shirley and Cotton died a few months after arrival in that country, and all our dealings with Persia relapsed into the hands of the East India Company, whose agents were at the head of flourishing factories—first at Bandar Abbas, and afterwards at Bushahr, Basra, and Bagdad. Those agents were always well received by the Persian Government, and the first epoch passed in peace and good-will. But these relations, which continued nearly two centuries, had more of a commercial than a diplomatic character. Purely diplomatic relations began in 1799, when Lord Wellesley resolved on sending Captain Malcolm to 1087 Persia to negotiate an offensive and defensive alliance with Path Ali Shah against the French. Malcolm's embassy had in it all the elements of success. He was himself handsome, gallant, and courtly, a bold horseman, and an experienced soldier, and the officers who accompanied him were worthy of their leader. The portraits of one of them, Mr. Strachey, are still to be seen in the palaces of Ispahan, and an ode written in his praise by the Shah himself is so celebrated in the East that when, many years afterwards, Dost Mahommed was introduced to a gentleman of that name he instantly began to recite a stanza from it. In short, such was the favour in which Malcolm was held that he had no difficulty in negotiating a treaty with the Shah, which was signed in January, 1801, and by which the Persians bound themselves to "expel and extirpate the French" if they attempted to enter Persia. But the brilliant impression made by this embassy was suffered to die out, and the Treaty was never ratified by the English Government; so that just before the Peace of Tilsit, in July, 1807, when Bonaparte sent General Gardanne to Tehran with 70 French officers to discipline the Shah's troops, they were well received at the Persian Court, and the star of the French was for a time in the ascendant. This success of the French Mission alarmed both the East India Company and the English Government, and they simultaneously endeavoured to counteract that sinister influence. Then was seen the strange and unseemly spectacle of rival Envoys, from the Sovereign and the quasi regal Company, struggling with one another for priority of access to the Court of the Shah in order to expel the French intruder. Malcolm, sent by Lord Minto from India, reached Bushahr on the 10th of May, 1808, and returned without being allowed to see the Shah on the 12th of July. In August, Sir Harford Jones, the Royal Envoy, sailed from Bombay for the Persian Gulf, was admitted on the 17th of February, 1809, to an audience with the Shah, and on the 12th of March following negotiated a preliminary treaty which re-established our alliance with Persia. Now, as the failure on the part of Malcolm and the success of his rival had always been imputed to the superior influence of a Royal Envoy over one sent by a Go- 1088 vernor General, and as they became the fons et origo of all the subsequent disputes about Persia between the India Office and the Foreign Office, he must dwell on them for a moment, in order to point out the real facts of the case which had never hitherto been disclosed. The truth was, then, that the Royal Envoy would have been sent back by the Persians from Shiraz, in the same discourteous way as Captain Pasley, Malcolm's avant-courrier, had it not been for a subtle device of Sir Harford, who had been long enough at Bagdad to take the exact measure of the Persian Court. With a view to the difficulty he would have to encounter, Sir Harford had provided himself with a magnificent diamond which had been in the signet ring of Karim Khan, who ruled Persia in 1759, had been brought to Bombay by some Armenians, in 1772, and had at the time when Sir Harford was preparing for his mission found its way into a shop in Bond Street. That diamond Sir Harford purchased for considerably less than its value, and kept it about him ready for use when the crisis came. When, therefore, Nasrullah Khan, the Prime Minister of the Prince Governor of Shiraz, told Sir Harford he could go no further, Sir Harford, having exhausted all other arguments, arose from his seat, and said—"I go, then, and I take with me this gem which I hope to lay at the feet of the Asylum of the World." At the same time he drew from his breast a glittering casket, which he opened and displayed the enormous diamond. The Persian Minister, who had been sitting in an attitude of supercilious indifference, lost his balance both metaphorically and literally at the sight, and called out in breathless haste—"Stop, Elchí, stop! I will send off an express courier to the Shah, and stop, at all events, till the answer is received." The answer came, Sir Harford was conducted to the capital, and was ushered in at one gate of Tehran while General Gardanne and his 70 officers were congéed out at the other. In the narrative published by Sir Harford of his Mission, the purchase and presentation of the diamond were mentioned, but nothing was said of these remarkable circumstances, but he heard them himself from General Sir James Sutherland, who was an eye-witness of the whole transaction. It seemed almost incredible; but it was matter of history 1089 that Sir Harford drew bills on India to the enormous amount of £70,000 for the expenses of his mission, which, with the price of the diamond and the other presents, must have cost considerably over £100,000, and Lord Minto was so chagrined at Malcolm's failure, that he not only dishonoured the bills but threatened to send an expedition to the Persian Grulf—a threat which certainly might have endangered the liberty, and even the life of Sir Harford. The affair, however, ended in Malcolm being sent on a third mission to the Court of Fath Ali Shah, where he was received with so much favour as to prove that had he taken with him a diamond of the same value as that brought by Sir Harford Jones, he would, on his second mission, have been received with equal courtesy. The Shah offered to give him command of his whole army, and to appoint English officers to discipline it, and had our Government been wise enough to empower Malcolm to accept that offer, he did not hesitate to say that, in all probability, the Russians would never have crossed the Arras, and we should never have embarked in an Afghan and Persian War. But the Foreign Office was anxious to conciliate Russia rather than to build up a rampart against her. Malcolm was recalled, and one of the most distinguished officers he left behind him was soon after cruelly put to death by the Russians, when lying wounded after an encounter between them and the troops of Abbas Mirza, the heir apparent. From that time to this, the shortsighted policy of the Foreign Office had been to cripple Persia in all her movements, and to drive her step by step into the arms of Russia. In 1823, Mr. Canning, who was then Foreign Secretary, transferred the management of our relations with Persia to the Board of Control, on the express ground that "the objects of our intercourse with Persia were principally, if not purely, Asiatic." So things continued till 1836, when Lord Ellenborough, never very friendly to the East India Company, retransferred Persia to the Foreign Office. This arrangement lasted till the 12th of November, 1858, when Lord Malmesbury, with the full consent of Lord Stanley, again transferred Persia to the India Office. The grounds for this change were thus ably stated by Lord Malmesbury— 1090Persia was placed under the superintendence of the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs in 1836, in consequence of its being supposed that the counsels of Great Britain would have more weight with the Persian Government if urged in the name of the Sovereign, than if tendered merely on behalf of the East India Company, and from that time the representatives of the British Government have always communicated with the Persian Government under credentials from the Crown, although they were also provided with credentials from the Governor General of India. But, under existing circumstances, there is no longer the same motive for separating the superintendence of British relations with Persia from that department by which it can most conveniently be exercised, for it could not be questioned that the interest of Great Britain in Persia is founded on the position which this country occupies in India, and that almost every matter which might have come under discussion between this country and Persia more or less concerned the British Government in India.The despatch went on to say, with reference to the credentials—In order to secure uniformity, it may be convenient that the credentials for Ministers and commissions for Secretaries of Legation and Consuls in Persia should continue to be made out in the Foreign Office, although sent, when ready for signature, to the India Office, in order that the Secretary of State for India may submit them for Her Majesty's signature, and that the seal may then be affixed to them at the India Office. The Queen having the power to charge any individual Secretary of State with a special duty, would, by my proposal, simply place the duties and responsility of the Persian Mission in your Lordships' hands instead of mine.He had already shown that this idea, to which Lord Malmesbury refers, that—The counsels of Great Britain would have more weight with the Persian Government if urged in the name of the Sovereign than if tendered merely on behalf of the East India Company,was founded on a misapprehension which sprang from the subtlety and reticence of Sir Harford Jones. But, at all events, as Lord Malmesbury shows, whether the idea was true or false, there was an end of it when India passed from the Company to the Crown. The Shah knew well enough that the Duke of Argyll was of equal rank with Lord Granville, and that if the credentials of the officers of the English Mission were drawn out at the Foreign Office, and the Persian Minister was under that Office in all matters of Court ceremony as one of the Corps Diplomatique, it would be far from a disadvantage to Persia that its business should be transacted with the Duke. In fact, the Persian Minister often discussed matters 1091 with the Duke, just as the Shah, frequently transacted business with the Representatives of Foreign Governments through a Minister other than his Foreign Secretary. He himself, when at Tehran, arranged most of the important matters he transacted there through the Amínu u'Daulah, and not through Mirza Said, the Foreign Secretary. Lastly, we had the positive testimony of Sir Henry Rawlinson that "no distinction was ever made between the Queen's Envoy accredited from one Department or from another Department of the State," and all who knew Persia knew that Sir Henry Rawlinson, accredited from the India Office, had a hundred times more influence than Mr. Alison, who was accredited from the Foreign Office. This allusion, therefore, needed no further comment, and he hastened on to say that after this change in 1858, the sixth which had occurred, they might have expected to "rest and be thankful;" but Lord Russell was no sooner in office than, with characteristic impatience, he reversed everything which had been done, and acting, no doubt, on the advice of Mr. Hammond, brought reluctant Persia back under the control of that functionary; and he said boldly, what he knew to be the case, that since then there had been repeatedly approaches to a positive rupture. Well, now, he had pointed out that the first epoch in the history of our relations with Persia ended with Malcolm's failure in 1808. The second terminated on the 3rd of September, 1854, when Mr. Murray, a purely Foreign Office employé, was appointed Minister at Tehran, for from that time to this, with the exception of Sir Henry Rawlinson and himself—and their career was short—there had been no Indian officer at the head of the Mission, and that was a matter to which Lord Lawrence and others attached the most serious importance. Now, he was going to found his chief argument for transferring Persia to the India Office upon the results of that substitution of Foreign Office emphyés for Indian; but before he did so he wished to dispose of the arguments which those who gave evidence before the Committee in favour of the Foreign Office view submitted to consideration. Of these, the statements of Sir Henry Bulwer told almost as much on one side as on the other; Lord Halifax supported 1092 one recommendation of the Committee, though he rejected the other two propositions; Mr. Hammond told us little or nothing, and what he said was hardly consistent; and Lord Clarendon alone spoke decidedly, though as he (Mr. Eastwick) would now show, his arguments would not bear examination. Now, what were these arguments? The first was that, except with regard to the Persian Gulf, India had nothing to do with Persia; the second, that the Shah would be "very much hurt and offended" at being excluded from European diplomacy, and put into the Indian circle; the third, that it was for our interest to keep Persia out of that circle; and the fourth, that the progress of Russia in Central Asia would bring Persia every day more and more into the pale of European influences. Now, the exception that except the Persian Gulf India had no connection with Persia, meant excepting a trade of several millions which India has with the Gulf, excepting the Residency at Bushahr, the Agency at Basra, the Residency at Bagdad, the Residency at Muskat, the naval force in the Gulf, the telegraphic communication along the 1,000 miles from Bushahr to Karachee, the line of steamers which runs between those places, for all of which India paid. It meant excepting the Treaties the Indian Government had with the Arab tribes of the Gulf, and with the Imam of Muskat, the disputed sovereignty of Barhein, the slave trade which India paid to put down. Surely that was a large—a monstrous exception. But to waive all that, he asked, had India no frontier line to the east of Persia, extending for 300 miles between the subsidized Khelat State and Persia, and 600 miles between Persia and the semi-Indian and occasionally subsidized State of Afghanistan, which line Indian officers—General Goldsmid, of the Bombay Army, and Colonel Pollock, of the Bengal Army—were at that moment engaged in settling? And why were Indian officers engaged in that duty? First, because England was in no way interested in the matter, except on account of India, while to India it was a matter of vital importance—of peace or war. Secondly, because Mr. Alison either never would, or never could, settle anything in Persia, but was indebted to Indian officers—first of all, he could not help saying, to himself, and 1093 afterwards to General Goldsmid and Major Champain—for all that was settled. The Indo-Persian frontier was vastly more extensive and more important than the other frontiers of Persia, for excepting the Caspian Sea, on which Persia had not a vessel, from the reckoning the whole frontier of Persia towards Russia extended only 200 miles, and no more than 600 miles towards Turkey, while the Indo-Persian frontier stretched 1,900 miles, reckoning the eastern frontier with the southern coast, which in all respects was thoroughly Indian. But besides all that, the Shah Mahomedans of India were bound to those of Persia by a thousand ties, while both were separated by an impassable gulf from the Turks. The Parsees, too, of India had still thousands of their brethren in Persia, which, as their name tells us, was their native land. There was, in fact, nothing to separate the interests of India from those of Persia—nothing to prevent the growth of commerce and goodwill but one iron wall, and that was the Foreign Office, which had expelled Indian officers from posts of influence in Persia, and which sent, and would probably send again, at the instigation of such men as it was in the habit of employing there, an invading army to desolate the provinces of our oldest and most attached Eastern ally. So much for Lord Clarendon's first argument. Of the second he had already disposed, and it was, in fact, a flimsy cobweb, in which none but very weak insects would be caught. The Shah could not be "hurt and offended" at that being done which had already been done in the case of Sir Henry Rawlinson, with his full approbation. But there was no necessity to revert precisely to what was done then. Why should, not the credentials of our Envoy to Tehran be drawn out as heretofore at the Foreign Office, but be sealed both at the Foreign Office and the Indian Office; and as for the Persian Envoy, he, of course, could remain, so far as ceremonies were concerned, in the Corps Diplomatique under the Foreign Office. But the one essential thing was that the India Office should control the Mission at Tehran, and that the Persian business should be transacted at the India Office, for the obvious reason that all that was important in that business related to India. No one but Lord 1094 Clarendon had ever denied that, and his statement was overborne by a cloud of witnesses, from Canning downwards; by Lord Malmesbury and Lord Derby; by two Viceroys of India of oppposite politics—Lord Lawrence and Lord Mayo. Lord Mayo made the following most important statement in his despatch to the Duke of Argyll of the 10th of June, 1869:—Under the existing arrangements, which for some years past has been in force, Her Majesty's Minister at the Court of the Shah is placed under the direct control of the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs; and while the revenues of India contribute £12,000 a-year for the support of the Persian Mission, no person, who by service in India has obtained experience of those questions which affect the interest of the Empire, is attached to the Embassy. The Secretary of State for India, or the Viceroy in Council, has no power to direct a single act of Her Majesty's Minister at Tehran. All they can do is to ask for information. In the Memorandum drawn up by Sir Henry Rawlinson on the Central Asian question, forwarded to us by your Grace's predecessor, the inconvenience of this arrangement is pointed out, and it is there shown that diplomatic action at Tehran is nearly invariably connected with questions which are intimately mixed up with the policy and interests of Her Majesty's Government in India. It is our duty to explain very fully the whole position of affairs to your Grace, and to point out that the means placed at our disposal render it most difficult in all cases—impossible in some—to carry out with success the policy which has been laid down, and the instructions of Her Majesty's Government,Even Lord Clarendon's own officers—our Ambassadors at St. Petersburg and Constantinople—disproved his statement. Sir Andrew Buchanan said, in answer to Question 305, that there was very little business connected with Persia transacted through his office. Sir Henry Elliot, answering Question 1,289, stated that he sometimes had not occasion to write to Tehran for eight or ten months, and then again he might have had occasion for two or three months to make frequent communications. It turned out, however, that these communications were on all border questions—"little border disputes," as Lord Lawrence called them, which were of such little importance in the eyes of the Foreign Office itself that it allowed the boundary map to be dawdled over at St. Petersburg for 17 years, from 1853 to 1870, which would have been finished at the India Office in a year. As to the Return given in by Mr. Hammond of the number of letters on the political interests of India addressed during nine years by the India 1095 Office to the Foreign Office, no one should be deceived by that. Sir John Kaye explained that that was merely a Return of answers given by his Office to the Foreign Office when applying for information or advice, and if the Return was scanty that only showed the incompetency of the Foreign Office to deal with, the political interests of India. Finally, we have the positive assurance of Sir Henry Rawlinson that during the time he was Minister the only questions of a European complexion with which he had to deal were boundary disputes, and three-fourths of the despatches had relation to India. Besides transacting Persian business at the India Office, it was essential, too, that the officers of the Tehran Mission should be appointed by the Indian Secretary; but he deferred noticing this point till he had replied to Lord Clarendon's other two arguments. His third argument was that it was for our interest to keep Persia out of the Indian circle. Now, of all the countries bordering on India, why should that be said only of Persia? We went to an expensive war to keep Afghanistan in the Indian circle, and expel Russian emissaries; we did not want the French in Burmah; and we sent Malcolm to keep them out of Persia. In 1869, Mr. Forsyth was sent by Lord Clarendon to negotiate with the Russian Government the establishment of a neutral ground between Russia and Afghanistan; and if he could have established a neutral territory between Persia and Russia, it would have been equally for our benefit. What did keeping Persia out of the Indian circle really mean? It meant that Persia should be the focus of European intrigues; that when a war arises Persia would offer herself first to one belligerent and then to the other, as she did in the Crimean War; that Indian refugees in Persia—like Prince Ferúz Shah, the last scion of the house of Delhi—would be continually trying to weave conspiracies against our Indian Government, into which, falsely or truthfully, they would import the names of Russia, or any other European State from which they might hope to get aid. In short, if it was for our interest to keep Persia out of the Indian circle, it was equally so to keep Cabool, Herat, Kelat, Cashmere, and Burmah out of it. "But," said Lord Clarendon, "the progress of Russia in Central Asia would bring 1096 Persia every day more and more into the pale of European influences." Here European meant Russian influences; but was that a desirable thing for us? If so, then the advance of Russia into Turkey must be at least equally desirable, for the occupation of Persia by Russia would be a serious danger to our Indian Empire, while the occupation of Constantinople by that Power would not endanger us in any way. But common sense would tell us that nothing could be more undesirable to any State than to have an equally strong or stronger Power advance to its frontiers. The history of the world told us that in all such cases war must sooner or later ensue, and that the more equally matched the Powers, the more terrible would be the collision. We had had war with all our neighbours in India—with the Sindhians, Afghans, Nepaulese, and Burmese; but when our frontier marched with that of Russia the war that arose would be, it was only reasonable to expect, far more dangerous than any India had ever experienced. Our business, therefore, was to keep Russia at a distance. Lord Sandhurst said the other day that it would take a quarter of a century for Russia to sap up to our frontier. Then it was the duty of our statesmen now to look forward to that time. The statesmanship which waited till the enemy was at the gates was not worthy the name. He said, then, let us maintain Persia inviolable as one of the outposts of India, and that would not be done by allowing her "to be brought day by day more and more into the pale of Russian influences." He had done now with Lord Clarendon's arguments, and would come to the question of appointing Indian officers to the Mission at Tehran, and the consequences of substituting for them European diplomatists who had no Indian experience. Lord Lawrence's evidence was very full on this head. He said, in answer to Question 4,988—I consider it most important that the British Minister in Persia should possess a large knowledge of India and its circumstances; that the Secretary of State should naturally be led to make his selection of the chief officers in Persia from those who had served with distinction in India; whereas, in the nature of things, that could not be the case if the Persian Minister were under the Foreign Office.How true that judgment of Lord Lawrence was Lord Granville had just 1097 shown. When Mr. Alison died, General Goldsmid was at Tehran. He was there now, and was engaged in settling the important question of the Perso-Indian boundary. What could have been more opportune? General Goldsmid was admirably fitted for the post of Minister. There were many other Indian officers to choose from. There was, for example, Sir Arnold Kemball, so long the Resident at Bagdad. But, no! there was stagnation in the Diplomatic Service, and Lord Granville feared there would be an émeute among its ranks if an Indian officer were elected. He had, therefore, fixed on Mr. Taylour Thomson, who had been 14 years at Valparaiso, where, he was bound to say, so far as he (Mr. Eastwick) knew, he had done good service, and had probably forgotten his Persian and all he knew of Persia by this time. That might be so, but it was certain that the Shah had not forgotten what occurred in 1853 and 1854. On the 4th of November, 1853, Mr. Thomson, then in charge of the Mission, hauled down his flag, and relations were suspended till the 26th of that month. On the 15th of June, 1854, Mr. Thomson wrote to Lord Clarendon—I have appointed Mirza Hashim Khan to be First Persian Secretary of this Mission. His character, in so far so I have been able to ascertain, is most respectable, and he is connected by marriage with the Royal Family.Now, if Mr. Thomson had had any regard for Oriental feelings, he would never have appointed a man who had married a sister of one of the Shah's wives, and who was in disgrace at Court, to a subordinate post in the English Mission, or to any post in it; and if Lord Clarendon had known anything of Persia he would never have approved such an appointment. To bring a Persian lady of rank connected with the Shah into communication with the Mission was one of the most outrageous things ever done by a foreigner in that country. What was the natural result? Mr. Thomson wrote to Lord Clarendon on the 2nd of September, 1854—The persons about the Court took this opportunity of instigating the Shah to instruct the Sadr Azim to oppose this appointment on account of the rank of Mirza Hashim, and also on account of his connection with the Royal Family.Mr. Murray arrived soon after, fresh from the Foreign Office, and of course took up the quarrel, but found it im- 1098 possible to keep Mirza Hashim as Secretary to the Mission. He therefore sent him to Shiraz; but the affair had gone too far, the Sadr Azim imprisoned Mirza Hashim's wife, and wrote to Mr. Murray "a most offensive and unbecoming despatch," as Mr. Murray called it, accusing both Mr. Thomson and Mr. Murray of an intrigue with the lady. Those gentlemen had probably never read the story of Baron Kniphausen, the Dutch Agent, who was imprisoned and forced to pay a heavy fine on a similar accusation. They had, perhaps, never heard of Baron Grüboedoff, the Russian Ambassador, who, on the 11th of February, 1829, was murdered with his whole staff, except the First Secretary, M. Malzoff, at Tehran, by the Persians, for sending for two Armenian women who were in the harem of the Asifu u'Daulah. The Sadr Azim, however, knew all about it, and in a letter to Lord Stratford de Redcliffe took credit for saving Messrs. Thomson and Murray from the same fate. On the 4th of November, 1855, Mr. Murray notified to the Sadr Azim the appointment of Mirza Hashim to Shiraz, and on the 20th of the same month he reported to Lord Clarendon that he had struck his flag. On the 26th, the Shah himself wrote to the Sadr Azim—Mr. Murray's object is this—forcibly to take our wife's sister. Our commands are that we will not submit to this indignity.In fact, the Shah twice issued an order to put the lady to death, a command which was with difficulty evaded. The sequel of the story was well known; Mr. Murray went to Bagdad, and the Persians seized the opportunity, marched on Herat, and took it, whereupon ensued the Persian War, which was thus originated by the employés of the Foreign Office, peace being restored by an Indian officer, Captain Lynch. Lord Granville had now appointed one of those employés, a gentleman personally odious to the Shah, to be Minister at Tehran. Truly the English were a long suffering people, but if they should be plunged into a second Persian War by the caprice of a Minister who selected the very most improper person in the whole world to be our Minister at Tehran, he believed even their patience would break down. For his part, he did all he could to prevent this mistake. He gave Notice of 1099 a Question which implied that the appointment of a successor to Mr. Alison should be postponed till after this debate. The noble Lord opposite (Lord Enfield) asked him to postpone that Question, and in the meantime Lord Granville hastened to recommend Mr. Thomson to the Queen. That was, perhaps, scant courtesy to him; but he did not complain of that; all he did complain of was that the public interests should be wantonly sacrificed to gratify the lore of patronage of the Foreign Office. And now he had done, he left to others to ask why India should pay all and the Foreign Office place all. On that head he should merely refer to the homely words of Dundas, Lord Molville. "India," he said, "pays the piper, and India ought to have some of the patronage." Nor would he stir up scandals that were dead, and would only say there had been scandals in Persia before which even what had now happened would sink into insignificance. The hon. Gentleman concluded by moving the Resolution of which he had given Notice.
§ SIR CHARLES WINGFIELD
, in seconding the Motion, said he would take occasion to observe that he looked with no jealousy on the advance of Russia in the East; on the contrary, he believed that she had a great mission to perform there, and he could contemplate with calmness the prospect of the absorption of the whole of Turkestan by her. All would agree that our diplomacy in Persia was essentially an Eastern question, and must depend mainly on considerations of Indian policy. It therefore appeared to him to be extremely desirable that our Minister in that country should be in intimate communication with the Viceroy of India, and in corroboration of that view, the Shah complained that no member of the Mission was acquainted with Indian interests. At the same time, however, he could not help regarding it as the most natural arrangement that our Minister in Persia should be subordinate to the Secretary of State, with whose Department the business which he had to transact was most intimately connected. A great stimulus, he might add, would be given to the acquisition of the Persian language if employment in that country were thrown open to Indian officers. By far the most efficient Ministers whom 1100 we ever had in Persia were Sir James Malcolm and Sir Henry Rawlinson, because of their knowledge of Oriental manners. They were extremely acceptable to the Shah, and possessed great influence with him; Sir Henry Rawlinson alone, of all the foreign Ministers, was during his residence at Tehran admitted to private interviews with the Shah. Moreover, the advantages, according to Lord Lawrence, of substituting one Secretary of State for another was to be found especially in the selection of officers, and it was deemed advisable by those best qualified to give an opinion on the subject that, even if the Mission remained under the Foreign Office, the officers should be selected by the Secretary of State for India. With regard to the payment of costs, if the Motion of his hon. Friend were adopted, he would not at all object to see the whole of the costs borne by India. If, however, the present arrangement were adhered to, he thought the proportions now borne by this country and India should be reversed, and that three-fourths should be borne by England, and the remaining fourth, by India.
To leave out from the word "That" to the end of the Question, in order to add the words "in the opinion of this House, it is expedient that the recommendation of the Diplomatic Committee of last year be carried out, viz. that the control of our relations with Persia be transferred to the India Office, or that the payments for the expenses of our mission in Persia be readjusted,"—(Mr. Eastwick,)
§ MR. BOURKE
thought the proposal of his hon. Friend (Mr. Eastwick) was one which must commend itself to the good sense of the House. Nobody at all acquainted with Oriental affairs could, in his opinion, fail to see that the qualifications necessary for a Minister to Persia were of a very special character. He ought to be a good Oriental scholar, and to possess an intimate knowledge of Oriental affairs—qualifications which, it would be difficult to find among diplomatists sent out by the Foreign Office. It was natural that a person who had always been connected with the Foreign Office and European Courts should, when he found himself in an Eastern Court, turn his eyes towards the West, and cherish Western ideas and associations. 1101 The contrary ought to be the case with a British Minister in Persia, and instead of turning his face to the West, he ought to turn his attention to the East, because the only means by which good could be done in introducing civilization and progress into Persia was through India. It was desirable that intercourse should exist between the Minister of Persia and the Government of India in the interest of both countries. In the interest of Persia, because Persia wished to be powerful and independent, and the best way to teach her was through the Government of India. We had no feeling of aggression towards Persia—no desire for territorial aggrandizement at her expense. We were ready to go with Persia, and to lend her our influence in introducing the same civilization which we were endeavouring to establish among our own fellow-subjects in India. It was further desirable that Persia should understand that in case of need and under certain eventualities, we should be ready to support her, and that the Government of India would stretch forth its arm in vindication of her national rights, and in support of that independence which we knew she was anxious to maintain. On the other hand, it was, above all things, most desirable in the interests of India that she should entertain the most direct and intimate relations with Persia, for what was called the foreign policy of India was most intimately connected with Persian politics, and there was hardly one question of importance connected, with the foreign policy of India that could not be said to touch upon Persian politics. Take, for instance, the questions that arose from time to time with regard to our Central Asian relations and our Afghanistan policy, and those matters connected with her boundaries which in this country might be called minor questions, but which were of the greatest importance to Persia and India, and which, if not managed with the greatest discretion, might produce results which all might deplore. All these were questions with which the Government of India was daily obliged to interfere, and to which it paid the greatest attention. Did it not, therefore, follow as a matter of common sense that the same Department which had to do with all those questions of the foreign policy of India, should also manage those which were 1102 intimately associated with that policy? Questions of boundary were continually arising, and every person connected with the Government of India would be ready to admit that these and other matters would have been more satisfactorily and rapidly arranged had the Secretary of State for India been able to communicate directly with the Persian Minister. He quite agreed with his hon. Friend who had last spoken, that apart from India England had no interest in connection with Persia, and he could not conceive that England would for one moment think it necessary to keep up a Minister and a diplomatic Mission at Tehran if it were not for our Indian Empire. In conclusion, he thought that if it could be shown that it was desirable for the interests of India that this change should take place, it was for the interests of England also. Entertaining those opinions, he should vote for the Motion of the hon. Member for Penrhyn.
§ VISCOUNT ENFIELD
said, he wished at the outset to take exception, and very strong exception, to one remark made by the hon. Member for Penrhyn (Mr. Eastwick)—namely, that it was the duty of the Secretary of State to be bound by a Resolution agreed to by a Committee of that House. If that rule was to hold good, even though the Resolution might have been passed by a considerable majority, it would be a practical transfer of the duties and responsibilities of the Minister of the Crown to that House. Now, he apprehended that it was the duty of the Secretary of State, when a Committee of that House was appointed to investigate any subject which came under his Departmental knowledge, to be guided by the conclusions at which that Committee might have arrived, so far as he thought those conclusions consistent with his duty and the interests of the public service; but it was not his duty to be bound by the decision agreed to by any such Committee contrary to his own sense of what was most expedient. The hon. Member had discussed the state of our relations with Persia within the last few years. Well, with regard to that, at the present moment there were no complications between us and Persia. Two Commissions of Arbitration had been appointed for fixing the boundary line between Persia and Mekran and Seistan. The first had com- 1103 pleted its task, subject to some trifling rectifications, to the satisfaction of both parties; the latter had for a time suspended its labours. If, however, these Commissions should be carried out to their legitimate end, Persia would have a well-defined Eastern frontier and escape any collisions with her neighbours. In the Charbar and Bandar Abbas matters of dispute between Persia and Muscat, the English Government, being friendly to both parties, would not interfere; while with regard to the internal questions of Persia, the melancholy suffering from famine in that country might probably account for the insecurity of life and property along the public roads, but there was no other difficulty with regard to our relations with that country. For 12 years the late Mr. Alison had represented English interests with credit, fidelity, and efficiency at the Court of the Shah, and accounts received from Persia said that his death was the occasion for sincere sorrow on the part of all classes. The brief history of the position of the Persian Mission from this country was this—Towards the end of the reign of Fettah Ali Shah, Sir John Campbell, Envoy to the Court of Persia from the Governor General of India, officially reported that as merely accredited by a subordinate Government, he had not the power and influence which a Minister would have who was directly named by the Crown of England. When Mahomed Shah ascended the Throne, a Mission from the Crown instead of from Calcutta succeeded, and in 1835, Sir Henry Ellis went to Tehran as Envoy. From 1835 to 1858 the Minister at the Court of the Shah was accredited direct from the Crown of England. In November, 1858, it was proposed that a change should take place, the purport of which was to transfer to the India Office the superintendence of the British relations with Persia. It was, however, stipulated that the Foreign Secretary should be kept fully informed of all the diplomatic transactions with the Court of Persia. In accordance with the proposed change, therefore, and under certain conditions which were made a sine quâ non, Sir Henry Rawlinson accepted the appointment, and was for some months the representative of England at Tehran; but when, in October, 1859, the Foreign Secretary proposed, with the entire acquiescence of 1104 the India Office, to resume the conduct of Persian diplomatic relations, Sir Henry Rawlinson resigned. There was one point in respect of which he thought his position would be affected, and that was in his not being allowed to continue his presents to the Shah. In the evidence which Sir Henry Rawlinson gave to the Select Committee on this point, he hardly did himself or his country full justice, for it was impossible to believe that his influence at the Persian Court depended on the presents he was able to distribute there. The Shah had a Civil List amounting to some £400,000 a-year, and was not, therefore, likely to be influenced by presents at the disposal of the British Minister of the total value of, perhaps, £1,500 a-year. The influence of a man like Sir Henry Rawlinson at Tehran depended on his position, his ability, his intimate knowledge of Eastern politics; it depended on the man, and not on the question whether it was in his power to give away a certain sum in presents every year. In October, 1859, a re-transfer of diplomatic proceedings was effected, and this remained up to the appointment of the Committee in 1870, before which Committee Lord Malmesbury, Lord Derby, Lord Lawrence, Sir John Kaye, Lord Clarendon, Lord Halifax, Sir Henry Bulwer, Mr. Hammond, and other witnesses were examined. As to the evidence before that Committee, it was true that some distinguished witnesses advocated the transfer, though Lord Derby, whose name had been mentioned by the hon. Gentleman, was not very decided in his approval. But the evidence of Sir Henry Bulwer, Lord Clarendon, Lord Halifax, and Mr. Hammond was very decided against the transfer. Sir Henry Bulwer thought it better to leave our relations with Persia in the hands of the Foreign Office, though he added that the India Office ought occasionally to be consulted; and Lord Clarendon had no doubt whatever that we ought to bring Persia within the European circle, instead of keeping it within the Indian circle. As to Mr. Taylour Thomson, it was true that a letter was circulated in 1854, supposed to be written by him, which, if he were really the author, was inconsistent with his further employment, but Mr. Taylour Thomson indignantly denied that he had written the letter, stating that it was a com- 1105 plete fabrication. The war with Persia mainly originated in the conduct of that country towards Herat, and in the insults offered to Englishmen. The hon. Member and other speakers had dwelt upon the fact that Oriental experience was needed in any diplomatic appointment at the Court of Persia. But the Foreign Office List showed that Mr. Taylour Thomson had had ample experience of this nature. But then it was said that the appointment of Mr. Thomson would be highly objectionable at Tehran, and would be regarded as an affront at the Persian Court. Now, to those statements he could give an official contradiction. Very soon after it was rumoured that Mr. Taylour Thomson had been appointed British Minister at Tehran, the Persian Minister here said he thought the appointment would not be acceptable. Thereupon a telegram was sent to Tehran, the substance of which was—The Persian Minister here objects to the appointment of Mr. Taylour Thomson to succeed Mr. Alison as Her Majesty's Minister at Tehran, alleging that he was the cause of the last war. Ascertain whether the Persian Minister makes this statement by order of the Persian Government, and the grounds on which it is made.On the 5th of July the answer came—The Grand Vizier states that the Persian Minister has not been authorized to make any objection whatever to the appointment of Mr. Taylour Thomson as the successor of Mr. Alison. Instructions had been given to telegraph to the Persian Minister to express the satisfaction felt by the Persian Government with the appointment in question.Now, he thought, whether the House accepted or rejected the Motion of the hon. Gentleman, we ought to ask ourselves, would it, on the whole, be advisable, in cosmopolitan interests, to place the Persian Mission under the India Office? The answer would appear to be that where Representatives of great Powers like Russia, France, and Turkey were accredited by their Sovereigns and their Governments, England should also have a diplomatic Representative appointed by her Sovereign, and not by the Viceroy of India. Again, would it be just and considerate to the Shah himself to make this change? The Shah, was an independent Sovereign, owing us no homage or allegiance, but solicitous for our friendship and goodwill, and had, therefore, the right to be treated as a member of the family of 1106 nations, and not as a vassal or as a tributary; and, further, he knew that a Minister appointed by the Queen must be higher than one appointed by the Secretary of State. Then, was the choice of a Representative to be restricted to members of the Indian service alone? No one could question the fidelity, the gallantry, and conspicuous abilities of the Indian service, but Lord Granville was not prepared to restrict the choice of a representative of England at Tehran to any one branch of the public service, whether at home or abroad. Should the arrangement be altered, moreover, by which it was deliberately agreed in 1836, with the full assent of the Court of Directors of the India House, that a charge of £12,000 upon the Revenues of India should be made towards defraying the expenses of the Persian Mission? He thought no fair reason could be assigned for upsetting that arrangement, and a glance at the expenditure would show that the surplus charge had been in many years provided for out of Imperial funds according to the deliberate arrangement which had been sanctioned upwards of 35 years ago. Finally, he hoped the House would agree by their vote to-night that the rule for our relations with Eastern Courts should be, that where there were Representatives of other European Powers, English relations should be conducted by the Foreign Office; in countries where no nation but Great Britain was represented, her relations should be under the direction of the Viceroy of India. He therefore asked the House, with all respect and all confidence, to negative the Motion.
§ MR. STOPFORD-SACKVILLE
said, that if he had any complaint to make against the Government, it was not so much that they were unwilling to carry into effect the recommendations of the Select Committee, but that they were too ready to appoint a Committee, and to throw upon it a responsibility as to diplomatic services which ought to rest upon themselves. Whatever might be the result of the Motion, there could, he thought, be but one opinion as to the interesting speech in which it had been introduced, and he must congratulate the House on having among its Members an hon. Gentleman so thoroughly acquainted with Persian policy as his hon. Friend the Member for Penrhyn (Mr. 1107 Eastwick). He should not on the present occasion deal with the larger question involved in the Motion; but as to the minor point, was it fair or just that we should say, on the one hand, "the affairs of Persia are so far Indian that India must bear almost the whole of the expenses of the Mission;" and, on the other, "they are so far European that we shall put the whole control of the Mission in the hands of the Secretary for Foreign Affairs?" Those who had heard the evidence which was given before the Committee by men of the highest experience could not help arriving at the conclusion that such a mode of proceeding involved an extraordinary anomaly, and that was the opinion, among others, of Sir John Kaye. One of the witnesses who had been quoted in opposition to the Motion was Lord Halifax, and nobody had a greater respect than he (Mr. Stopford Sackville) had for that noble Lord's Indian authority on Indian affairs; but Lord Halifax said, in his evidence before the Committee, that although he had altered the arrangement which had been made by Lord Malmesbury, he thought India paid far too highly towards the expenses of the Mission, and that a fair proportion would be half-and-half instead of £12,000 being paid by India and only £3,000 by this country as was now the case. When, he might add, the affairs of India were directed by the East India Company, there might be an advantage in accrediting a Minister to the Shah of Persia, through the medium of the Foreign Office, as otherwise he would not have represented the Sovereign; but now that the Foreign and Indian Offices were all alike, under Secretaries of State of equal rank, that reason disappeared. He had made these remarks because it was upon his suggestion that the Committee had recommended a readjustment of expenditure; and to this hour he could hardly understand how the present arrangement could be defended.
§ MR. BOUVERIE
said, that as Chairman of the Committee to which reference had been made, he would point out that the recommendations of the Committee, though not perhaps worded very strongly, were clearly in favour of the proposal of the hon. Gentleman opposite. The question was one of considerable importance and the Committee heard the evidence of the highest authorities on both sides. On the one side were Lord 1108 Clarendon and Lord Halifax, whose views on the subject were those of Lord Palmerston; on the other side was the equally high authority of Lord Lawrence, Sir Henry Rawlinson, and Sir John Kaye. The House would observe that the former authorities consisted of Ministers of State who had Foreign Office experience, while the men who were opposed to them were persons who possessed a great knowledge of Oriental Courts and the management of Oriental affairs, which was the real point at issue that evening. The point, however, they had to consider was this—not whether the Foreign Office or India Office should have the appointment of the Representative at the Court of Tehran, or whether he should be a gentleman belonging to the one service or the other, but by what class of men could our relations with Persia most probably be best conducted. Because, with regard to the Home administration, it mattered very little who was to have this appointment, whether it was the noble Lord at the head of the Foreign Office, or the noble Duke at the head of the India Office. They would both equally make the best choice they could, and it was obvious, as they were both in the Cabinet, that what was known about Persian affairs of importance by one would be immediately known to the other. But the real point for consideration was, whether the best field of choice for officers to represent the Crown in Tehran was likely to be offered by the diplomatic service, which was very limited in number, and whose experience had been confined to European Courts, or by the larger number of public officials engaged in the public service in India, and acquainted with the customs and feelings of Orientals, and who possessed a knowledge of their language. If the choice lay with the Foreign Office they might depend upon it that the officer selected would be from the diplomatic service; and if it lay with the Secretary of State for India, he would look for an officer qualified to be Representative at the Court of Tehran in the Indian official service. He thought the Committee arrived at a rational conclusion in this matter. It also occurred to the Committee—though they did not express a very strong opinion on the point—that if it appeared to the Government that the whole question should be decided by 1109 European considerations in reference to Russia and Turkey and the general diplomacy of the world, then the charge of this Mission should not be laid on the shoulders of India. Either the Mission was an Indian affair mainly depending for its importance on the closeness of the relations between India and Persia, and then the charge could fairly be put on the Indian Revenues; or, if it was considered of European character connected with European diplomacy and with efforts to keep peace all over the world, then there would not be the shadow of a pretence for placing the charge on the Indian Exchequer. That was the commonsense view entertained by the Committee, and if the hon. Member for Penrhyn (Mr. Eastwick) went to a division, he would support him.
§ MR. W. C. CARTWRIGHT
said, he wished to direct the attention of the House to the weakness of the evidence given before the Committee in favour of the proposal now before the House. One of the principal arguments adduced by those who were in favour of that proposal consisted in animadverting on the delay occasioned by what they called the present dual government. But Sir John Kaye, in answer to a question put to him by the Committee, declared that no serious delay arose in consequence of the dual government. With regard to the objection of dual government it was rather remarkable that Sir Henry Rawlinson, who was most strongly opposed to the retention of the Persian Mission under the Foreign Office, when asked if he would also put all the Consular offices in Persia under the India Office, replied in the negative, because, he said, there was no Consular service in India. It seemed to him that that showed the singular weakness of the whole case. If they transferred the Persian Mission to the India Office because it was an Oriental Mission, they must, for the same reason, transfer the Chinese and Japanese Missions. The charge was one which struck against the knowledge, capacity, efficiency, and organization of the Foreign Office. These were the general grounds on which he had in Committee opposed the views of the hon. Member for Penrhyn, and if he went to a division he would vote against his Resolution.
§ SIR STAFFORD NORTHCOTE
said, he wished to say a very words on this 1110 question, which was not altogether free from difficulty. At the same time, he was bound to say that, so far as his judgment went, there was very great force in the argument of his hon. Friend the Member for Penrhyn (Mr. Eastwick), who had introduced the subject, supported, as it had been, by his right hon. Friend opposite the Chairman of the Committee (Mr. Bouverie). He looked with considerable interest to the verdict given by the right hon. Gentleman, because he approached the question from, an independent point of view. He himself, so far as he had anything to do with the matter, of course did not altogether approach it from an independent point of view, having been some time ago the representative of the Indian Government; for, as such representative, he certainly felt that it would have been desirable with reference to Indian interests that the Indian Government should have more direct connection with the Persian Mission than it had. From his personal knowledge while at the India Office, he could confirm that it was perfectly true that all dispatches and communications were sent to the India Office for information; but at the same time there was a good deal of difference between receiving dispatches sent by another office, and on the authority of that office, merely for information, and directing those dispatches yourself, and there could be no doubt that the responsibility felt by the India Office on the mere receipt of a dispatch was not so great as if the direction of the Mission rested with it. The hon. Gentleman who had just sat down put the matter on a ground which, though taken by others, was not exactly the correct ground on which the Motion rested. He said, if the Persian as an Oriental Mission should be transferred to the India Office, so should the Chinese and Japanese Missions be transferred. But it was not because this was an Oriental Mission, and that gentlemen best acquainted with Oriental affairs would often be found among the Civil Servants of the Indian Government, that it should be transferred to the India Office, but because the affairs of Persia were peculiarly connected with the affairs of India. The diplomatic relations between this country and Persia affected Indian interests in a very different way from our communications with China and Japan, and there were a 1111 great many questions affecting the affairs of Persia which did very closely touch the conduct of Indian affairs. For instance, when he was at the India Office—and no doubt it was the same now—there were many questions affecting the state of affairs in the Persian Gulf; and it must be borne in mind that the Indian Government was considered responsible for the maintenance of order in the Persian Gulf; that there was a Resident in the Persian Gulf in direct communication with the Government of India, and there were continually questions arising connected with the affairs of the Chiefs on either side of the Gulf, which did more or less bear upon and affect the politics and proceedings of Persia, and also very closely on India. He thought, therefore, it was very desirable—it was essential—that the Indian Government should be informed of what was passing between India and Persia, and should have its say with regard to the communications between them. No doubt it was better that those communications should be direct; but if there were reasons to overpower that, the next best thing was that there should be free communication as there had been between Lord Derby and himself. In that way they might, to a great extent, gain the advantage desired, though not so completely as if the Mission were put entirely under the India Office. At the time he held office there was no difference between Lord Derby and himself, because Lord Derby held very strongly the same views he entertained himself—that it would be better that the Persian Mission should be directly under the India Office. Indeed, he had formerly made arrangements with that view; but inasmuch as the Government which succeeded him had reversed his policy, and put the Mission back under the Foreign Office, he felt it was not desirable that they should of their own Motion attempt to reverse that arrangement unless they had some confidence that what they did would be permanent. It appeared to him, with great reason, that it was very objectionable that repeated changes should be made in this matter—that one year this Mission should be under the Foreign Office, next year under India, and the third year under the Foreign Office again. Instability in such a matter was very much to be regretted and deprecated. Therefore he felt some 1112 delicacy in urging a change, unless it was a change which recommended itself to those in authority and they were prepared to give their sanction to it. At the same time, any change of this kind was not to be considered as lowering the Persian Mission. That would be very objectionable. If the Government of this country were to say—"We do not intend to send to Persia a direct representative from the Sovereign of England, but a representative of the Viceroy," the Shah of Persia would have cause to complain; but that was not what his hon. Friend proposed. He proposed that the Envoy should go direct from the British Crown, but that he should be in correspondence with the Secretary of State for India rather than with the Foreign Secretary; and it seemed to him that this might have been arranged without giving offence to the Shah. Upon the whole, his opinion decidedly was in favor of the Motion; and it seemed to him that in the form in which it was made it was difficult to resist. The form was that either the Mission should be transferred to the India Office, or that the financial arrangement should be revised; and the meaning of the second branch of the alternative was that the two-thirds or three-fifths of the expense which was paid by the Indian Government should either be put under the management of the Government which mainly had to pay for it, or that that Government should be relieved of the expense. He supposed that the reason why the Government of India was charged with this expense was that which had just been suggested—namely, that Indian and Persian affairs were connected, and India had an interest in what we did there. Therefore it was said, if this be so, let us transfer the Mission; if it is not so, let us relieve India of the expense. Upon these grounds it appeared to him that his hon. Friend had made out a case which, so far, had not been answered.
said, this was a case of difficulty and of divided authority, and one in which it would not be wise on the part of the House to interfere. The right hon. Gentleman opposite (Sir Stafford Northcote) had unintentionally fallen into error in stating that Lord Derby entertained a strong opinion in favor of this transfer, for Lord Derby himself said that he had no 1113 strong opinion on the subject, but, on the whole, he was inclined to prefer the system which placed Persia under the India Office. The right hon. Gentleman also commended the form of the Motion, but it was exceptional in this—that it combined together alternative propositions which really had no connection. The one was a political proposition of great importance and delicacy; the other was a mere financial arrangement, fit to be discussed in Committee of Supply. He objected altogether to placing these propositions as alternatives the one to the other, and to the assumption that the adoption of one necessarily excluded the other—a point which had not been argued and as to which the hon. Mover of the Resolution might fall into a trap. The right hon. Gentleman assumed that the intention of the hon. Mover was that, if the Mission were not transferred, the expenses should be charged to England; but that was not required by the terms of the Motion; that merely required that the expenses should be readjusted; and it would be a full compliance with the terms of the Resolution if India, instead of paying £12,000 a-year, were made to pay the whole expense of the Mission. The question of the division of expense appeared to him to be one for discussion in Committee of Supply, and not one which it was convenient to mix up with the larger question. With respect to looking to the Indian Service for the choice of the agents by whom the business of the Persian Mission was to be conducted, he would say it was a good thing that all services should be carefully watched by the House of Commons, because they were all apt to fall into a species of exclusiveness, each preferring its own members, habits, and traditions. He would not, however, give an opinion adverse to the general view expressed that it would be proper to select persons of Indian experience for the Indian Mission. With respect to the main question, the transference of the Mission to the India Office, he did not admit that it was the duty of the Ministry to give effect to the recommendations of the majority of a Committee. That was authoritative evidence with which a Minister might enter upon an investigation; but it would never do to lay down the principle that a Minister could shield himself from responsibility under such a recom- 1114 mendation. Further, the scope of the Committee's inquiry was limited by the Order of Reference; for as the Committee was appointed to inquire into the constitution of the Diplomatic and Consular Services, it exceeded its powers by dealing with a question of this nicety; and if such a question had been referred to it, it would have been the first time Parliament ever appointed a Committee for such a purpose; it would have handed over to a Committee a matter properly reserved for the Executive Government, subject to the review and correction of the House. In fact, the system under which the affairs of the Persian Mission were managed had existed for 40 years, with the exception of a single year, and the House was now called upon to alter it on the Resolution of a Committee which was not appointed to consider the matter. Was that a matter in which the House could interfere with safety? Lord Malmesbury altered the present system after an experience at the Foreign Office of 12 months; Lord Palmerston adhered to the present system after as experience of 15 years or more as Foreign Secretary, and constant attention to the affairs of the Foreign Office after he had quitted it. Lord Clarendon, a most experienced Foreign Minister, adhered to the present system, Lord Malmesbury altered it after a year's experience, Lord Derby had no very strong opinion on the matter; but Mr. Hammond, no mean authority, supported the present system, and so did the present Foreign Secretary. In that condition of divided authorities, there being, however, a great preponderance of those who had long Parliamentary experience and long official practice in the Foreign Office in favor of the present system, it would not be safe to accede to the Resolution. There was another point of which no notice had been taken, and that was that the Court of the Shah was attended by Ministers who in every case formed a portion of the regular diplomatic service, of their respective countries. Under these circumstances, it would have a tendency to lower the position of those who represented the Queen in the eyes of the Shah, if this change were made. It was very material to observe that Lord Clarendon had not scrupled to state his strong conviction that the Shah would not approve the transfer. His right hon. Friend had conceded what he (Mr. Gladstone) be- 1115 lieved to be the main point, when he said that if those who were responsible for the conduct of affairs were not willing to accept a transfer of this kind, it ought not to be made, and he would not wish that the House should force it upon them. But, at all events, his right hon. Friend said that England, ought to pay for the Mission. He would not enter upon that point now. But the way he would presume to put the matter was this—The affairs of the Persian Mission were really, and to a very substantial purpose, part of the foreign affairs of India; but with respect to the foreign relations of India, it had been held that the whole of that portion of them which touched on the northern frontier of India was more appropriately, conveniently, and effectively lodged in the hands of the Foreign Minister than of the Indian Government. In that case it might be said that India ought not to pay for the Persian Mission. That was a matter for discussion. But if we acted in the interest of India, and placed these functions in the hands of the Foreign Minister, because we thought he would be best able to defend the interests of India, would it be said that it was not right to throw the expenses on the Indian Exchequer? But, in conclusion, upon the main question he hoped that the House of Commons would not consent to interfere against the weight of authority on the part of those who had been engaged in the conduct of foreign affairs—a weight of authority amounting to nearly an unbroken chain for many years.
§ MR. KINNAIRD
, as a Member of the Committee which sat on the subject, said he must contend from the following terms of the Order of Reference:—To inquire into the constitution of the Diplomatic and Consular Services and their maintenance on the efficient footing required by the political and commercial interests of the country,that they had not gone out of their Reference, and unless the proceedings of the Committee were a farce and a sham the matter had been referred to them in the most distinct manner. The plain common-sense view of the question was at variance with the judgment of the Prime Minister. What were the interests most affected? Were they those of England? Not a bit. Persia was contiguous to our Empire in India, where we had an Administration and a Council which were, he believed, unani- 1116 mous in their opinion that the interests of India were sacrificed. He maintained, having looked anxiously into this question, that the interests of this country required that our Persian Embassy should be represented by some one thoroughly acquainted with our Indian affairs, and that, compared with the Government of India, our Government at home knew very little about our Persian relations. He trusted the House would adopt the Resolution of his hon. Friend.
§ Question put, "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Question."
§ The House divided:—Ayes 90; Noes 60: Majority 30.