§ LORD ROBERT MONTAGU
asked Mr. Chancellor of the Exchequer, with regard to the following statement made by Lord Lytton and Sir Lewis Pelly on 10th October, 1876 (p. 183):—Our only interest in maintaining the independence of Afghanistan is to provide for the security of our frontier. But the moment we cease to regard Afghanistan as a friendly and firmly allied State, what is there to prevent us from providing for the security of our frontier by an understanding with Russia, which might have the effect of wiping Afghanistan out of the map altogether? If the Ameer does not desire to come to a speedy understanding with us, Russia does; and she desires it at his expense;to what negotiation or proposal did the Viceroy allude; and, whether, as Afghanistan is now not a friendly State, any understanding has been come to between England and Russia on the subject?
§ THE CHANCELLOR OF THE EXCHEQUER
, in reply, said, that as he read the passage referred to by the noble Lord, and as it was understood by his noble Friend the Secretary of State for India, it simply conveyed the general impression which the Viceroy had derived from the conversation with the Russian Minister as to the action of Russia. There was no ground for interpreting it as referring to any formal proposals by Russia on the subject.