§ SIR WILLIAM HARCOURT
asked Mr. Attorney General, Whether the 388 native population of Cyprus since the Anglo-Turkish Convention owes allegiance to the Sultan or to the British Crown; and what will be their status in the event of a war in which the Sultan may be a belligerent and England neutral, and vice versâ; whether the right conceded by the Porte to the Government of Great Britain to "administer the island of Cyprus" is sufficient by itself to operate as a complete super-session of the Sovereign authority of Turkey over the laws and people of that island, or whether it is proposed by some further Treaty to define the relative powers of the Sultan and the English Government; whether the Ottoman Government can be taken to have delegated to that of Great Britain a territorial jurisdiction in its own dominions over the subjects of foreign states, which jurisdiction the Sultan has himself surrendered in favour of those states; and, if not, whether the European Christian States which by usage, treaty, or capitulation possess the right of exclusive jurisdiction over their own subjects in the Turkish dominions in the Levant will retain the same rights under the English administration of Cyprus; and, whether all those states will have the right to maintain Consular or other Courts in Cyprus, and to exercise jurisdiction over their own subjects independent of the authority of the English administrators?
§ THE ATTORNEY GENERAL (Sir JOHN HOLKER)
Sir, the Question of the hon. and learned Gentleman is of a highly speculative and imaginative character, and in order to answer it fully it would be necessary that it should be more elaborated, and the conditions under which the law is intended to apply should be much more fully explained. But the reply which I am about to give will, I think, be found to be an answer so far as the Question is really practical. First of all, the Anglo-Turkish Convention does not destroy the allegiance of the Natives of Cyprus to the Sultan. The Natives who will remain in Cyprus will, while they are there, be under the protection of the Queen, and bound to render allegiance to her so long as the Island is occupied by Great Britain. A war in which the Sultan may be a belligerent and England a neutral, or vice versa, would not alter their status. Secondly, I think the right conceded by 389 the Porte to the Government of Great Britain to administer the Island of Cyprus is sufficient to give Her Majesty all necessary powers over the Island. Whilst the Island is administered by Her Majesty, Her Majesty will exercise the sole jurisdiction, and administer all laws over the people, subject only to the exception specified in the Convention. Thirdly, if any other country, or the subjects of any other country, claim any exceptional rights under existing arrangements with the Porte, the position and claims of such country or subjects will be duly considered. Fourthly, the question whether European Christian States, possessing exclusive jurisdiction over their own subjects in the Turkish Dominions, would have the right to maintain Consular or other Courts in Cyprus, and to exercise jurisdiction over their own subjects independently of the authority of the English Administration, cannot be answered until it is known whether any and what right to exercise jurisdiction is claimed by the other States.