HC Deb 17 June 1880 vol 253 cc183-4

asked the Under Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, Whether a British steamer, the "Plato," was boarded 40 miles from Buenos Ayres by the Argentine war steamer the "Constitution," and a guard of marines placed on board of her; and, whether the steam ship "Bessel" has been stopped and guarded; and, if so, what steps Her Majesty's Government have taken, or propose to take, in the matter?


Sir, the reports which have been received by Her Majesty's Government confirm the statement in the hon. Member's Question. The Plato was boarded on the morning of the 4th ultimo, and detained till the afternoon of the 5th., when the commander of the Argentine gunboat admitted the arrest was due to a mistake, and allowed the passengers and cargo to be landed. The Bessel was detained in the same way from the morning of the 5th of May till the evening of the same day, when she was also released. The cause of the arrests seem to have been the anxiety of the Argentine Government to prevent certain arms believed by them to have been shipped at Antwerp on board the Bessel from reaching the hands of disaffected persons in the country. The plato appears to have been mistaken for the Bessel. Her Majesty's, Chargé d'Affairs at Buenos Ayres has made a strong representation on the subject to the Argentine Government, and Her Majesty's Government propose to await the answer to this communication before taking any further steps in the matter.