HC Deb 07 February 1881 vol 258 cc268-9

asked the Under Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, Whether his attention had been called to a speech of the French Minister for Foreign Affairs in the Senate on Friday last, in which these statements occurred— The best thing for Greece to do is to follow our counsel. Turkey herself, although the rights of war have not been pronounced, already consents to concessions. Without a war, without a drachma of expense, Greece can acquire a territory immense compared to its present territory. If Greece began a war she would cause a con- flagration of which we could not measure the extent. I, therefore, conjure Greece to listen to our counsels. He also wished to know whether the hon. Gentleman would distinctly undertake that Her Majesty's Government, either alone or in conjunction with "the concert of Europe," would advise Greece to moderate her excessive demands, to accept the large and substantial concessions offered by the Porte, and to demobilize her Army? Whether it was true that the proposed Conference at Constantinople was prevented owing to the unwillingness of Her Majesty's Government to re-consider the advice given by the Conference at Berlin, and owing to their desire to treat that Conference as a Court of Arbitration, and not merely as a body that, in M. St. Hilaire's language, merely "recommended a delimitation to the parties, and nothing more?"


With regard to the first of the Questions of the hon. Member, I have to say that at a moment when delicate negotiations are pending I should be wanting in regard to my duty were I to engage in the discussion to which he invites me. With regard to his second Question, no proposal for a Conference at Constantinople has been entertained by any of the Great Powers. The proposal of the Turkish Government to the effect that the Greek Frontier Question should be negotiated at Constantinople between the Representatives of the Powers is still under the consideration of the Powers.