HC Deb 03 April 1879 vol 245 cc259-60

asked Mr. Chancellor of the Exchequer, Whether he can now give the House any information as to the reported agreement for a joint occupation of Eastern Roumelia by the troops of several of the great European Powers; and, whether the Go- vernment are willing to undertake that this Country shall not be committed to share in such occupation until the House has had an opportunity of discussing the proposal?


Sir, I mentioned some short time ago that communications were going on upon this subject, and I can only add at present that nothing is yet settled. The policy of the Government on this subject was declared by our Plenipotentiaries at the Congress of Berlin. They did not propose such a measure as a joint occupation, but they were willing to accept it and join in it if it seemed likely to tend to the maintenance of tranquillity and to avert the renewal of conflicts between hostile races and creeds in that Province. That is the opinion which Her Majesty's Government still hold. The Sultan considers that he has full power to keep order in the Province; but we are naturally anxious that all steps should be taken which will avert the risk of bloodshed in the Province. I cannot add more at present. I am afraid I cannot give the undertaking which the hon. Gentleman asks for; although it is quite competent for him to call attention again to the subject.