HC Deb 28 March 1881 vol 260 cc8-9

asked the Under Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, Whether his attention has been directed to statements which have recently appeared in the press to the effect that at the time of the Berlin Conference it was distinctly stipulated by M. Waddington, and agreed to by Lord Beaconsfield and Lord Salisbury, that the price which England would pay for the occupation of Cyprus would be the concession to France of full and free leave, so far as England was concerned, to establish herself permanently at Tunis whenever it seemed good to her to do so; and that documents irretrievably committing the late Government on the subject of Tunis exist in the archives of the French Foreign Office; and, whether he can give the House any information in regard to these statements?


Sir, I am, of course, unable to say what documents may exist in the archives of the French Foreign Office. Some conversations took place at the time of the Congress of Berlin between Lord Salisbury and M. Waddington, in which the position of France towards Tunis was mentioned; but Lord Salisbury demurred to the construction which was put upon his words, and I do not think that it would be wise to re-open the subject.


asked, If the hon. Baronet would state whether there was any letter from the Foreign Minister of France to the late Government, detailing an account of the conversation which took place between him and Lord Salisbury; and, if so, whether the hon. Baronet would lay it on the Table?


There are a considerable number of despatches on the subject; but I am very doubtful whether it would be desirable to lay them on the Table of the House.