HC Deb 16 May 1881 vol 261 cc580-1

asked the Under Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, On what day Her Majesty's Government telegraphed to St. Petersburg for permission to publish Lord Dufferin's Despatch of 8th March, and the Papers referred to in his speech of the 13th instant?


Sir, Lord Dufferin's despatch of the 8th of March relating to a conversation with M. de Giers was received on the 14th of that month. Lord Dufferin was informed that it would be desirable to include a Report of this conversation in the Blue Book, and was asked in the usual terms, whether M. de Giers had any objection to his language being published? On the 17th, Lord Dufferin telegraphed that M. de Giers wished certain omissions to be made, and that a note of these omissions was being despatched by the messenger. It left St. Petersburg on that day, and reached the Foreign Office on the night of the 21st. I only became aware of its receipt on the day of the debate, as the despatch had to be seen by the Secretary of State and the Permanent Under Secretary of State before it reached me, and my recollection was that it had been received only on that day. The Secretary of State on the 22nd ordered the Blue Book to be immediately issued; but as it was found that it could not be got ready before the debate terminated, it was after the debate delayed to include a further despatch, bearing the date of March 26, which had been asked for in this House.