HC Deb 04 April 1876 vol 228 cc1177-8

asked the Under Secretary of State for the Colonies, Whether his attention has been called to a leading article in the "Morning Advertiser" of March 21st, upon the Newfoundland Fishery question, in which it is stated that the Report of Captain Erskine, whilst senior naval officer on that station, upon the relations existing between the French and English fishermen, was considerably abridged and modified by the authorities before presentation; and, whether, the facts are as so stated; and if he will lay upon the Table of the House a Copy of Captain Erskine's original Report?


I have seen the article in The Morning Advertiser to which the hon. and gallant Gentleman refers, and I may say it is the case that the Report of Captain Erskine was abridged. The reason for the adoption of that course was that the Report, which was in great part highly confidential in its character, contained references to matters of extreme delicacy, which are at this moment engaging the attention of a mixed Commission sitting in Paris. Under these circumstances the hon. and gallant Gentleman will see that it is not possible either to publish the Report, or to lay it on the Table of the House. I hope, however, that the state of negotiations will very shortly admit of some further communication being made to Parliament.