HC Deb 25 January 1886 vol 302 cc318-9

I wish to put to the Under Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs a Question of which I have not been able to give him Notice, but which I hope he will be able to answer. It is, Whether the telegrams which appear in this morning's papers to the effect that a communication has been addressed by Sir Horace Rumbold, our Minister at Athens, to the Greek Prime Minister, on behalf of Lord Salisbury, in which there is alleged to be contained a threat in regard to the action of the British Fleet, are correct? Perhaps, also, the right hon. Gentleman will be able to give to the House the terms of such communication—if any such communication has been made; and, if not, perhaps he will say whether the telegrams are substantially accurate?


In answer to the Question of the right hon. Gentleman, I have to state that, at the instance of Her Majesty's Government, the six Great Powers presented a Collective Note to Greece yesterday, intimating that a naval attack by Greece upon the Ottoman Empire? would not be permitted. No answer to that Collective Note has been received by Her Majesty's Government.


I wish to point out to the right hon. Gentleman that he has not answered my Question. The telegrams speak of a special communication presented by Sir Horace Rumbold on behalf of England, and not of a Collective Note presented by the six Powers. I wish to know whether any such special communication has been made by the English Minister; and whether, if so, it contains a direct throat that the British Fleet will be sent to Athens to prevent any naval movement on the part of Greece?


I am sorry the right hon. Gentleman did not give me Notice of this Question. I do not think that, in a matter of this importance, I should be justified in stating more than I have done. What I have stated is perfectly accurate; and it contains all the information I am instructed to lay before the House at the present moment.


I beg to give Notice that I will repeat my Question to-morrow.