HC Deb 29 July 1881 vol 264 cc124-6

asked the Under Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, Whether any further communication has been received from the French Government as to the proposed new Commercial Treaty with France?


Sir, a communication was received from the French Government on the subject last Saturday, and a further communication to-day. The latest Papers will be considered at a meeting of the Royal Commission to be held this afternoon; but we are not in a position to make any statement with regard to the present state of the negotiations.


asked the Under Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, Whether Her Majesty's Government has made no communication to the commercial community of Great Britain re- specting the new French Tariff, and the negotiations for the French Treaty, beyond inviting by public advertisement the evidence before the Royal Commission of any parties interested in the trades affected by the French Tariff; and, whether he will give the altered Return which he has placed on the Paper, namely, a Return of the names of all places, under the heading of Counties in alphabetical order, from which communications have been addressed either to the Foreign Office, or the Royal Commissioners for the French Commercial Treaty, or the Board of Trade, on the subject of the new French Tariff, and of the proposals of France for a new Commercial Treaty; giving, under the heading of each place, in order of time, the names, and, as far as possible, the trades or occupations of the persons by whom such communications were addressed, as well as the Department to which they were sent; and stating in each case if such persons are representatives of any public body, Chamber of Commerce, or Trade Society; and a list of all the witnesses (with their trades, occupation, and addresses, so far as they are known,) who have been examined by Royal Commissioners for the French Commercial Treaty, and of the Witnesses, if any, who offered themselves for examination, but whose evidence was not taken?


Sir, communications respecting the new French Tariff, forwarding documents connected with it, have been made from time to time to Chambers of Commerce and to Commercial Associations which have addressed the Foreign Office on the subject. On the 25th of March, when the discussion on the new Tariff in the French Parliament was approaching its conclusion, these Chambers and Associations were informed, confidentially, of the state of the case, and asked for their observations with respect to it. On the 31st of May a Circular was addressed to all the Chambers of Commerce, calling attention to the appointment of the Royal Commission, and stating that any further statements would be received, and that the Royal Commissioners would confer with any delegate who might be appointed. The Return in question will be given as far as possible; but, as any communications which have been made to the Board of Trade have been passed on by that Department to the Foreign Office or the Royal Commissioners, it would be better to limit it to communications addressed to the Foreign Office or Royal Commission.