§ SIR H. DRUMMOND WOLFF
asked the First Lord of the Treasury, Whether, considering the grave questions of public and private International Law raised by the recent action of France in Tunis which affects both the suzerain rights of the Sultan, as recognised by this Country, and those of other Powers having interests in the Mediterranean, 1948 Her Majesty's Government will take the initiative in promoting the convocation of a Conference of the Great Powers, at which, as in the cases of Belgium, Egypt, Syria, Denmark, Greece, and Turkey, the points at issue may be submitted to the deliberation and decision of the European Concert? He begged to observe that in 1876 he asked a similar Question of the late Government with regard to the affairs of Turkey. He also wished to ask whether the circumstance of the acquisition of Cyprus was not immediately made public during the sittings of the Congress of Berlin in sufficient time to allow any question to be raised on the subject at the Congress?
§ MR. LABOUCHERE
wished to ask the First Lord of the Treasury, Whether, considering the grave questions of Municipal and International Law involved in the acquisition of Cyprus by this Country, and by the institution of English Courts in that island for the Consular jurisdiction secured by Treaty, to which we are a party, to all foreigners residing there, Her Majesty's Government contemplate submitting the points at issue to the deliberation and decision of the European Concert, before appealing to that Concert in regard to any action of the French Government in Tunis?
My answer to the first Question of the hon. Baronet is, that we have no intention of doing that which he suggests—namely, promoting the convocation of a Conference of the Great Powers such as took place in the cases of Belgium, Egypt, Syria, Denmark, Greece, and Turkey. We do not think that any benefit would be likely to arise from such a Conference. We think that events should be allowed to develop themselves further for the instruction of all parties concerned. Then with regard to the Question of my hon. Friend the Member for Northampton, I have to make a similar reply. We have no such intention, and very much for the same reason, we do not anticipate any benefit from such a course, but the benefit that might be derived, perhaps, from experience. With respect to the difference between the two cases mentioned in the Questions of the hon. Members, the facts are these. I think, when the Anglo-Turkish Convention had been signed and ratified by the Porte, it was 1949 made known confidentially, but only as a secret communication, on the 7th of July to Prince Bismarck and the Representatives of France at Berlin. On the 8th of July it was announced publicly in this House by the right hon. Gentleman opposite (the late Secretary of State for the Home Department). The Treaty of Berlin was not signed, as is well known, until the 13th of July. It certainly is the fact that there were meetings of the Congress after the 8th and before the 13th. But, on the other hand, I ought, perhaps, to mention that no communication of the Anglo-Turkish Convention was ever made officially to any of the Powers, so far as I know, except the secret and confidential communication to the Representatives of Germany and Prance which I have mentioned. I ought to state that I believe the letter making that communication now appears in the Papers, without anything to indicate that at the time it was confidential; but I believe it was originally a secret despatch, and that it was subsequently treated as official.