HC Deb 31 March 1881 vol 260 cc358-9

asked the Secretary of State for India, Whether it is true, as stated in the Calcutta Correspondence of the "Pioneer," dated the 28th of February, that the mission of General Mir Ahmed, the plenipotentiary of Abdur Rahman— Is first of all to convince the Indian Government that the Ameer has done everything in his power to secure himself in Cabul, and then to sound our officials upon the subject of further subsidies * * * * The ten lakhs which have already been given to the Ameer, and any subsidy which may now be offered to him, will, it is presumed, figure in the Budget under the head of Afghan War Expenditure; whether he will state to the House what subsidies, if any, have been granted to Abdur Rahman; and, also, whether Government will treat the payment of subsidies for the maintenance of Abdur Rahman in Cabul and Candahar as a matter of Imperial concern not exclusively affecting the interests of India, and will propose that the British Exchequer contribute in an equitable proportion towards such expenditure?


Sir, I do not think that the nature of General Mir Ahmed's mission to Calcutta has been correctly stated in the Calcutta Correspondence of The Pioneer. The cause of that mission originated in a communication from the Viceroy to the Ameer suggesting that, in order to discuss certain affairs connected with Cabul generally, and especially the proposed arrangements to be made in Southern Afghanistan, a confidential agent should be despatched to India. The mission of General Mir Ahmed was the result. I believe it is a fact that the agent in question asked for some war material and received it. We have no information of any request about subsidies; but I have not yet received a full official Report from the Indian Government as to the results of the mission. The subsidies granted to the Ameer are as follows:—On the 2nd of August, 1880, the sum of nine and a-half lakhs of rupees found by Sir Frederick Roberts in the Cabul treasury on his occupation of the city was given over to Abdurrahman. Ten lakhs were, at the same time, given to him by the Indian Government. A sum of five lakhs has, since January 19, 1881, been given to him, making 25 lakhs in all given to him by the Indian Government. These sums have been taken into account in arriving at the cost of the Afghan War, in respect to which the contribution has been made from the Treasury. As I do not know that any arrangement has been made as to the granting of an annual subsidy, it will be impossible for me to answer the second part of the Question.