HC Deb 10 February 1882 vol 266 cc372-4

asked the Under Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, Whether it is true that a Treaty has been recently concluded between Russia and the Shah whereby Persia has agreed to the annexation by Russia of the whole Valley of the Attrek up to the important position of Sarakhs; whether he can give any information as to the number and position of Russian troops in and beyond Askabad, and as to the reported intrigues of Russian agents along the borders of Affghanistan, and as to the advance of the Russian Railway towards Herat; and, whether his attention has been called to a recent speech of General Skobeleff, the conqueror of the Turcomans, wherein that general states, That never since the time of Mahomet Shah's march to Herat, coupled with the memorable services of Count Simonitch, has the influence of the Russian Minister of Teheran been more predominant. The spell of the Russian Standard is powerful far away to the East, even to the conquered regions, and this will be confirmed by the engineers who have just returned from Sarakhs?


Sir, in reply to the first portion of the hon. Member's Question, I beg to refer him to the answer given by me yesterday to my hon. Friend the Member for Greenwich (Baron Henry de Worms). The information which we have received as to the number of Russian troops at Askabad will be found in the Parliamentary Paper just distributed—"Central Asia, No. 4," page 24—in an extract from the St. -Petersburg Gazette of September 15, sent home by Her Majesty's Chargé d' Affaires at St. Petersburg. We have not heard of any change in the disposition or numbers of the troops since that date. I have no information to give in regard to the reported intrigues of Russian agents along the borders of Afghanistan. There is no present intention, as far as we are aware, of continuing the Trans-Caspian Railway beyond Kizil-Arvat; but I believe that it is proposed to make a tramway from that place to Bami (see "Central Asia, No. 4 "p. 26). I have seen an account of General Skobeleff's speech in the newspapers. The General does not hold an official position, and the Russian Ambassador has informed Lord Granville that the speech was entirely without political significance, and in no way represented the views of the Russian Government.


asked, whether it was to be understood that the latest information the Government had received was four months old?

SIR CHARLES W. DILKE, in reply, said, that he had stated on the previous day that the Government expected to receive in a few days the Treaty of which they had had telegraphic information.