HC Deb 02 March 1882 vol 266 cc1942-3

asked the Under Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, Whether, in accordance with the 9th Article of the Treaty of Berlin, any and what steps have been taken by the signatory Powers to fix the amount of the annual tribute which the Principality of Bulgaria is to pay to the Suzerain Court; whether it is not a fact that, at a meeting of the Ambassadors at Constantinople, the Russian Ambassador objected to the question of the Bulgarian tribute being raised; whether Her Majesty's Government will continue to press upon the Powers the necessity of carrying out this stipulation of the Treaty; and, whether the Powers have also neglected to determine, in accordance with the second paragraph of the same Article, what portion of the public debt of the Empire is to be assigned to the Principality of Bulgaria, and what steps Her Majesty's Government have taken to give execution to this provision of the Treaty?


Sir, as soon as the formal recognition of the boundaries of Bulgaria was completed by the adhesion of the Porte, which was not given till August last, to the final acts of the International Boundary Commission, Lord Dufferin was authorized to join with the Representatives of the other Signatory Powers in fixing the amount of the Bulgarian Tribute. The question was discussed at a conference of the Representatives on the 17th of September, when the Russian Ambassador expressed the opinion that the Debt could not be apportioned until an accurate knowledge of the total Debt of Turkey had been obtained through the instrumentality of the Financial Commission recommended by the 18th Protocol of the Treaty of Berlin. Direct negotiations have since been going on between the Turkish and Russian Governments in regard to the Indemnity and to the claim put forward by Russia that the Bulgarian Tribute should be assigned as one of the securities for its payment. Her Majesty's Government are quite ready to resume the consideration of the subject as soon as the other Powers are willing to do so; but it is a matter in which they cannot under the Treaty of Berlin act singly. The question of the Public Debt must, according to the terms of the Treaty, be considered at the same time as the Tribute, and my answers to the preceding part of the Question will, therefore, apply equally to this part of the subject.