HC Deb 10 March 1873 vol 214 cc1613-4

asked the First Lord of the Treasury, Whether there is any foundation for a prevalent rumour that it is the intention of Her Majesty's Government to present to each of the Arbitrators in the late Geneva Award a recognition of their respective services by a testimonial to be charged to the public account?


In replying, Sir, to the hon. Member, I have to state that it is the intention of Her Majesty's Government, so far as the Swiss, Brazilian, and Italian Arbitrators are concerned, to propose to Parliament to vote sums of money for this purpose. I may just state a summary of what took place. While the Arbitration was still, in point of form, in progress, the United States Government proposed that at the conclusion of the Arbitration each of the two Governments should present to each of these three Arbitrators sums of money. Her Majesty's Government were of opinion—first of all, that nothing should be done until the Arbitration was concluded; and, secondly, that in lieu of offering a sum of money, it would be better to follow, as far as possible, precedent in such cases, according to which it has been the custom to offer some article of value in which the money is invested. So much took place at the time; and the United States Government quite entered into our view with respect to the time of making the proposal. When the matter was re- sumed some correspondence took place, and it was agreed upon that the two Governments should give a present in the shape of a piece of plate to each of the Arbitrators. The American Government proposed that the gift from each of the Governments should be a separate gift. The British Government thereupon proposed that there should be a joint gift from the two Governments, each contributing in equal proportions. The American Government were quite willing to accede to that proposal; but they found that the discussion of the matter had been anticipated, and that an order had been given in America for plate to be presented. The consequence was that the American Government presented plate to these three Arbitrators. It is the intention of the British Government to pursue the usual course in cases of this sort. I think the proposal of the Government will be that about £1,200 should be given to each of these three Arbitrators.