§ SIR ROBERT FOWLER (London)
asked the Under Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, Whether he has seen a telegram in The Times of November 26, in which it is stated that—The Sublime Porte has signified an intention of taking possession of the Haidar Pasha-Ismid section of the line out of the hands of the British and Austrian lessees, who hold it under a regular Convention, including a distinct right of preference before all competitors on equal terms for the extension of the line;whether, in reference to this and previous similar statements in the public Press, Her Majesty's Government are taking effectual steps to prevent such acts from being committed against British subjects; and, whether, in view of the important interests involved, the Government will request the British Ambassador at Constantinople to bring the matter under the personal notice of the Sultan?
§ THE UNDER SECRETARY OF STATE (Sir JAMES FERGUSSON) (Manchester, N.E.)
The question has for some time been the subject of communications between Her Majesty's Embassy and the Porte. The Porte asserts that the lessees have failed to execute the conditions of the contract, and claims to resume possession of the line. Her Majesty's Ambassador, under instructions from Her Majesty's Government, has intervened with a view of protecting the lessees from any arbitrary act of seizure or confiscation, and no such act has at present been done by the Ottoman Authorities. The case is one which involves questions of law and fact, and can only be decided by arbitration or reference to the proper Courts. In the present stage of the matter there seems no sufficient reason for instructing Her Majesty's Ambassador to take the unusual step of making a personal representation to the Sovereign on the subject of a private claim.