HC Deb 18 March 1881 vol 259 cc1364-5

I also wish to ask a Question of the noble Lord the Secretary of State for India, of which I have given him Notice—Whether, with reference to the paragraph which appears in the morning papers, the Government have made any offer to the Ameer Abdur Rahman with respect to the cession of Candahar; whether the Ameer has accepted the cession; whether he has made any stipulation as to the time for the evacuation of Candahar by our troops; and what the nature of that stipulation is? And I wish further to ask the noble Lord, Whether it will be in his power to lay any Papers upon this subject before the House before the debate on Candahar comes on?


Sir, the paragraph which appears in The Times newspaper of this morning was not officially communicated, and it is inaccurate. It is a fact that, for a considerable time, communications have been in progress between the Government of India and the Ameer of Cabul on the subject of the arrangements to be made in Southern Afghanistan consequent on the withdrawal of British troops. I have, however, thought it inexpedient to communicate to the House in any detail what the nature of these transactions has been; but I have to-day telegraphed to the Viceroy to inquire whether it is the opinion of the Government of India that the time has now come when with advantage, or, at all events, without disadvantage, further information can be communicated to Parliament as to the progress of those communications; and I hope that on Monday, or some early day next week, I may be able to make some further statement on the subject.