HC Deb 28 February 1881 vol 258 cc1855-6

asked the Under Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, Whether Her Majesty's Government are taking any steps to obtain the fulfilment of the stipulations of the Treaty of Berlin, viz., of those contained in—Article XI. establishing the payment of a Tribute to the Porto by the Principality of Bulgaria, and the assumption by that Principality of a portion of the Ottoman debt; Article XI., in which it is laid down that within a year, or, if possibly, sooner, the ancient fortresses of Bulgaria are to be razed at the expense of the Principality, the erection of new ones being forbidden; Article XXIII., by which Turkey is bound to introduce reforms sanctioned by a European Commission into its European provinces; Article XXXIII., by which Montenegro is bound to assume a proportion of the Ottoman debt; Article XLII, by which Servia is to assume a proportion of such debt; Article LIX., in which Turkey undertakes to introduce ameliorations and reforms into Armenia; whether Her Majesty's Government still adhere to the paragraph in the draft instructions to the Admiral in command of the Mediterranean station, inclosed in Lord Granville's Circular of August 13, 1881, and ordered to be communicated to Foreign Governments, stating that The real aim of Her Majesty's Government in taking part in this naval demonstration is not merely to place Montenegro in possession of the small district in question, but to impress upon the Porte and the Albanians that the Powers are united and are determined to obtain the full execution of the Treaty of Berlin and the award of the Berlin Conference; and, whether, with the view of securing these objects, Her Majesty's Government intend, as before, to take the initiative in proposing to the Powers Signatories of the Treaty of Berlin a further naval demonstration?


Sir, the Powers have been unable to take the steps with which they were charged by Articles IX., XXXIII, and XLII of the Treaty of Berlin, for determining the amount of tribute to be paid by Bulgaria, and the proportions of the public Debt of Turkey to be assumed by Servia and Montenegro, owing to the Turkish Government not having yet signified their recognition of the formal acts of the Boundary Commissioners. The other Powers have officially sanctioned these acts; but until the new frontiers are accepted by all parties the mean revenues of the ceded territories cannot be formally determined, and the amounts to be paid on account of them cannot be fixed. My hon. Friend's Question with regard to Article XL and the Bulgarian fortresses has already been met by the reply to my right hon. Friend the Member for Lynn. With regard to Article XXIII, Her Majesty's Government proposed in September last that the Representatives of the Powers at Constantinople should be authorized to discuss the means of prevailing upon the Porte to put the new Statute elaborated under this Article into force, and instructions to that effect were accordingly sent by France, Russia, and Italy to their respective Ambassadors. The other Representatives have not yet been authorized to discuss the point, which we shall not fail to press as soon as a favourable opportunity offers. With regard to Article LXl., I must refer my hon. Friend to the full reply, respecting Armenia, which I made to the right hon. Member for Montrose on the 14th inst. The question of any further naval demonstration is one on which I must decline to express any opinion.