HC Deb 04 July 1881 vol 262 cc1934-5

gave Notice that he would, to-morrow, ask the Under Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, Whether he could state to the House at what stage the negotiations for a Treaty of Commerce between France and England had now arrived; whether it was the case that the English Government had intimated to the French Government that they were prepared to recognize fully the French Protectorate at Tunis, and to accredit Her Majesty's Consul at Tunis to the French Minister, in consideration of certain concessions on the part of the French Government favourable to English exports to France; if not, whether he could state to the House whether the negotiations between England and France with respect to the French Protectorate at Tunis had been kept absolutely and entirely separate and apart from those relating to the Commercial Treaty; whether it was a fact that the Italian Government had refused to recognize the French Protectorate of Tunis and the appointment of M. Roustan as intermediary for official communications with the Bey; and, whether the Italian Government had not more than once since the commencement of hostilities pressed Her Majesty's Government to act in concert with them regard to Tunis; also, whether he would lay on the Table of the House a Return showing the number of British Colonists and the extent of British trade at various places in Tunis and in Tripoli?


I will answer the first part of the Question at once—namely, that portion of it relating to the Commercial Treaty. The negotiations respecting the Commercial Treaty have been kept absolutely distinct from any correspondence with regard to Tunis. There is not the smallest foundation for any report—which report I have not myself seen—in regard to certain concessions with regard to Tunis having been asked for in consideration of any Commercial Treaty. With regard to the other part of the Question, I will answer it to-morrow.