HC Deb 02 March 1882 vol 266 cc1933-5

asked the Under Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, Whether it is true that a Treaty was concluded in December last between Russia and Persia, whereby the fertile territory between Askabad and Sarakhs, up to within ten miles of that town, was ceded to Russia, and will be occupied by the Czar's forces when the Treaty is ratified next month, and whether this cession embraces the Keshef Rud; whether Russian engineer officers have lately surveyed the whole territory up to Sarakhs, and have reported that no obstacles exist to the speedy and inexpensive completion of the Railway from the Caspian to that town; whether the Russian Government have given any assurances that they will no w fix a limit to their continual annexa- tions of territory; and, if so, what that limit is; whether he can state if the distance from Krasnovodsk on the Caspian to Sarakhs is six hundred miles by road, or over; whether he will state to what district he referred when he stated that the question of the appointment of a British officer on the Boundary Commission was under consideration; and, whether, as the map showing the Russian advance and recent acquisitions, which was first promised by him last June, has not yet been provided, the Government will at least supply the House with copies of a map just issued by Mr. Marvin?


Sir, in answer to the first branch of the hon. Member's Question, I have already told him several times in the course of the present Session that the new Russian Frontier stops 150 miles short of Sarakhs. The Treaty signed at Teheran at the beginning of January defined the Frontier between Persia and Russian Turkestan to a furthest point eastward about 150 miles from Sarakhs by road. No cession beyond that point, or embracing any portion of the Keshef Rud, was made to Russia; nor have we any reason to suppose that there will be any such further advance of Russian troops as is contemplated by the hon. Member. With regard to the second branch, the country between Askabad and Sarakhs has been recently surveyed by Mr. Lessar, a Russian civil engineer, and a translation of a communication on the subject made by him to the Geographical Society of St. Petersburg, which has been published in a Russian newspaper, will be included in the Correspondence about to be laid before Parliament. As to the third, with regard to the limit of Russian advance, I can only repeat that the whole question is now under discussion between the two Governments. In answer to the fourth branch of the Question, I believe the distance from Krasnovodsk to Sarakhs by road to be about 500 miles. As to the fifth, when I stated that the question of the proposed presence of a British officer on the Delimitation Commission for the Persian Frontier was under consideration, I referred to the boundary generally. No Joint Mixed Commission was appointed; but, as I have already stated, communications are passing with respect to that portion of the Frontier not settled by the recent Treaty. Lastly, the map showing the boundary, as settled in the Treaty, reached London on the 10th of February, and copies are being printed for presentation to Parliament with the Papers. As a large number is required some delay was unavoidable; but I hope they will be ready by the end of the week.