HC Deb 04 July 1881 vol 262 cc1955-6

asked the Under Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, Whether the reference of the Enfida case at Tunis by the Bey and the French representative at Tunis to a military court, and the interference of the Bey with the ordinary course of judicial proceedings in this matter, are a violation of paragraphs 1, 2, and 5, of the Treaty of 1863 between Great Britian and Tunis (subsequently confirmed by Articles 17 and 42 of the Treaty of 1875); whether such action is a violation of the direct promise which Her Majesty's Government (vide Note of Lord Granville to M. Challemel-Lacour of the 20th May 1881) (Tunis, III. p. 11), have declared that they regard "as an international engagement binding the French Government for the future," and of the direct promise given by M. Barthélemy St. Hilaire in his Letter to Lord Lyons of May 16, 1881 (Tunis, III. p. 5), which contains the following paragraph:— You wish first of all to place on record that I stated to you that the Conventions existing between Tunis and Foreign Powers would be maintained and respected. I repeat the assurance with greater pleasure, because by a special Article of our Treaty with the Bey, the French Representative guarantees the execution of all the Conventions of this kind which now exists; and, whether Her Majesty's Government consequently propose to make any representations to the Governments of France and Tunis with regard to the violation above referred to of the international engagements entered into by those Powers with England for the protection of the persons and property of British subjects?


I can only refer my hon. Friend to the answer which I gave to the noble Lord the Member for Westmoreland (the Earl of Bective) on the 28th ultimo, and say that until the Report of the Law Officers has been received and considered Her Majesty's Government will not be in a position to answer the Question. The Court referred to is not the Military Court, but the Maliki Court, one of the local tribunals.