HC Deb 26 July 1883 vol 282 cc525-6

asked the Under Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, Whether he saw Mr. Stoichoff (the Delegate named by the Bulgarian Government to deal with the Varna Railway question), whilst that gentleman was in England, and whether from him or from any other source he is now able to give any information as to the progress of the arbitration, or hold out any hopes that the suffering bondholders will soon receive the interest so long overdue to them; if not, whether Her Majesty's Government will not consider it their duty to give Bulgaria notice that unless the arbitration is carried through by a certain reasonable time upon the basis accepted by Mr. Lascelles, Her Majesty's Government will withdraw the offer and revert to their right under the Treaty of Berlin; and, whether it is not a fact that, owing to a succession of good harvests, the State Revenue of Bulgaria has, during the last few years, been considerably in excess of the State Expenditure, so that the Treasury at this moment possesses a considerable reserve of gold with which the Bulgarian Government could meet its just obligations to the bondholders if they had the least desire to do so, and that they can no longer plead the poverty put forward in M. Zancoff's Despatch of August 1880?


Sir, I had some informal conversation with M. Voulcovitch, not M. Stoichoff, when he came to this country on business connected with the Danubian Conference. As I have already informed the House, Her Majesty's Government 'have lost no opportunity of pressing this matter on the Bulgarian Government; and they trust that, on the return of the Prince to Sofia, steps will at once be taken to settle the question. Her Majesty's Government have no information as to the present financial position of Bulgaria, but they have no doubt that means could be found to provide the funds required; and they believe that the Bulgarian Government; who are themselves deeply interested in the loyal execution of engagements entered into on their behalf, will see the necessity of meeting the obligation which their independent position now entails upon them.