HC Deb 19 March 1883 vol 277 cc813-4

asked the Under Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, Whether he had seen a telegram in a newspaper of Thursday last stating that the Portuguese Minister of Marine had declared in the Chamber of Deputies that— The statement of Lord Edmond Fitzmaurice in the House of Commons, that 'Portugal promised not to send war vessels to West Africa during the pending negotiations,' was totally incorrect; and what was the correct statement of the case? If that of the Portuguese Government, whether measures would be taken by Her Majesty's Government to prevent Portugal from taking a step which would be so perilous to the interests of British trade on the Congo River?


Sir, the statement which I made on the 8th instant was perfectly accurate. Some misapprehension seems to have been caused at Lisbon through an incorrect report of it having been telegraphed in the first instance. The Portuguese Minister for Foreign Affairs has since repeated to Sir Charles Wyke the assurance that no naval expedition or ships of war will be sent to the Congo while negotiations with this country are pending. What the Minister of Marine said appears to have been that the Government had not bound themselves to abstain from sending ships to the Coast of Africa generally.