HC Deb 19 July 1878 vol 241 cc1972-3

I beg to ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, a Question of which I gave him private Notice yesterday. I wish to ask him, Whether it is the intention of the Government to make any statement in this House with reference to the proceedings of the Congress at Berlin or the Convention concluded between Great Britain and Turkey; and, if so, will he state what day?


Sir, I desire—the Government desire—to consult the convenience of the House. Undoubtedly, some opportunity ought to be afforded for some discussion upon the proceedings at Berlin and also upon the Convention with Turkey. I am not aware whether it is probable that any Motion upon the subject will be brought forward by any Member of the House; but if it should be the intention of the noble Lord, or anyone else, when the Papers are in their hands, to challenge the conduct of the Government in respect to these proceedings, probably it would be the most convenient course that we should await such a Motion; but if not, I should then propose to take an opportunity, and as early an opportunity as may be convenient, of calling the attention of the House to the subject, and giving an opportunity of any question being put or any explanation being asked for that would refer to anything that might be beyond what would be contained in any preliminary statement. The noble Lord asks on what day the statement will be made? That will depend on the course taken by others. If the matter rested simply with Her Majesty's Government, I think we ought to wait until, at all events, the Papers are in the hands of the House—the Protocols and other Papers—and, probably, it would be hardly possible, or not very convenient, to bring the matter forward next week. I should think that, perhaps, the Monday of the following week might be set aside for the statement; but, as to that, I should like to hear from the noble Lord, and there may be an opportunity of coming to some arrangement in the course of the day with him on the subject.


Sir, from the statement just made by the right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer, I gather that it is not the intention of the Government themselves to bring these matters before the House within any conveniently short time; and, considering the advanced period of the Session at which we have arrived, I think it would be convenient that the attention of the House should be called to the subject with as little delay as possible. I certainly did desire to wait until the Protocols were in the possession of the House; but after what has occurred in "another place," it appears to me that there are already sufficient materials in the hands of the House supplying ample matter for discussion of the subject. I beg, therefore, to give Notice that I shall on an early day call the attention of the House to the Papers which have been presented, and move the following Resolutions:— That, whilst this House has learned with satisfaction that the troubles which have arisen in the East of Europe have been terminated by the Treaty of Berlin without a further recourse to arms, and rejoices in the extension of the liberty and self-government of some of the populations of European Turkey, this House regrets:— ''That it has not been found practicable to deal in a satisfactory manner with the claims of the Kingdom of Greece, and of the Greek subjects of the Porte. That by the assumption under the Anglo-Turkish Convention of a sole guarantee of the integrity of the remaining territories of Turkey in Asia, the Military liabilities of this Country have been unnecessarily extended. That the undefined engagements entered into by Her Majesty's Government in respect of the better administration of those Provinces have imposed heavy responsibilities on the State, whilst no sufficient means have been indicated for securing their fulfilment. And that such engagements have been entered into, and responsibilities incurred, without the previous knowledge of Parliament.