HC Deb 15 May 1885 vol 298 cc623-4

asked the First Lord of the Treasury, Whether he is aware that the Italian Government would send assistance for the relief of the garrison of Kassala if directly pressed by Her Majesty's Government; and, whether, in the interests of humanity, he will make an earnest appeal to the Italian Government to lend a helping hand before it is too late?


Although it has been quite understood all along that the garrison of Kassala was never within the sphere of the British military operations in the Soudan, nevertheless great interest has naturally been felt in the fate of that place in consequence of the gallant manner in which the Commander and the garrison have held their post. Her Majesty's Government have considered various proposals embracing the subject of their relief, and have taken such measures and have offered such suggestions as they could properly offer; but, I am sorry to say, at present without any positive result. With regard to Italy, I am not aware of the state of facts to which the hon Gentleman refers—namely, the statement that the Italian Government is prepared to send assistance for the relief of Kassala if asked to do so by Her Majesty's Government. There have been communications with the Italian Government on the subject; but they are of a confidential character, and therefore I have nothing to state at present in regard to them.


asked whether the garrisons of Kassala and Senaar were not among the garrisons which the late General Gordon wished to withdraw from the Soudan; and, whether the orders given to Admiral Hewett on his Mission to Abyssinia did not also include the withdrawal of these garrisons?


said, the withdrawal of these garrisons, if it could be effected, was always an object of interest to the British Government. What he had stated was that the relief of the garrison of Kassala had never been within the sphere of their military operations, and that was strictly correct.